WASHINGTON -- Just hours after Wall Street reform icon Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) announced that he would not seek re-election to Congress in November, a grassroots progressive fundraising organization is gearing up to draft him to run for governor. In an interview with HuffPost, Miller himself did not rule out a run, but said it was too early for him to commit to a new electoral race.
A Republican redistricting plan would dramatically alter the make-up of Miller's existing 13th District in North Carolina, and the lawmaker said Thursday that he would not challenge fellow Democratic Rep. David Price in a primary for the newly drawn 4th District if the redistricting plan survives a court challenge.
But shortly after Miller's announcement, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee sent an email to all of its members in North Carolina asking them if Miller should run for governor, while highlighting his congressional efforts to protect consumers from banking abuses. So far, over 97 percent of respondents have urged Miller to run for governor, according to PCCC spokesman Neil Sroka.
"Brad Miller authored the bill in Congress that would break up the big Wall Street banks and prevent future bailouts," the PCCC email to members reads. "He also fought to make it easier for North Carolinians to 'move our money' from big banks that gamble away our money to smaller community banks."
PCCC's call for Miller to launch a gubernatorial run comes amid reports that current North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue (D) will not seek a second term in 2012.
"I really did not expect to be thinking about this today," Miller told HuffPost. "I really had no inkling that Bev was not going to run again. She'd been giving every indication that she was getting ready to run for re-election. I had about an hour this morning getting putzed into my own funeral and getting emails from friends, and then I spent another hour reading emails from those same friends telling me to run for Governor."
"I just haven't had a chance to talk to anyone or think about it," Miller continued. "I had no inkling that this was going to happen."
In an email to reporters, PCCC emphasized that its grassroots fundraising prowess could be directed toward a gubernatorial campaign, noting that the group has already raised $14,000 for Miller's now-defunct Congressional bid.
"The Progressive Change Campaign Committee has over 850,000 members nationwide and recently raised over $600,000 for Elizabeth Warren's run for Senate, which could provide a TON of grassroots support if Miller ran for Governor," Sroka said.
Pat McCrory has secured the Republican nomination for governor, and as mayor of Charlotte, the state's too-big-to-fail banking hub, he will be certain to secure financial support from Wall Street. Bank of America is headquartered in Charlotte, as was Wachovia before it failed in 2008 and was acquired by Wells Fargo. With Miller on the Democratic ticket, the race would likely become a referendum on his consumer protection accomplishments and efforts to curb predatory subprime lending, rhetorical terrain that would be friendly to Miller, but which would likely flood his opponent's campaign coffers with bank money.