GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Governor Beverly Perdue made her first public appearance after her surprise announcement not to run for re-election, and quickly explained the reason behind her decision.

I am absolutely committed to spending the rest of my life fighting for public schools and for access to education for every child in this state, she told reporters gathered outside the Sanford-Hunt-Frye Dinner in downtown Greensboro. The dinner is a fundraising event for the North Carolina Democratic Party.

She explained that she didn t want lawmakers to vote against a proposed three-quarter cent sales tax to fund education because she is a Democrat and the majority of them are Republicans.

If I were a typical politician -- and I'm not, I've never been -- I would have said, to hell with this and gone right on and run for governor and let it become a political wedge, said Perdue.

Inside the dinner, she arrived at the podium to a standing ovation. Even holding a microphone, she still raised her voice and sounded emotional as she explained her decision to take politics out of the decision.

This was going to be a discussion I'm going to have with the people of North Carolina, as a governor who's not asking for anybody's vote, I'm not asking for anybody's money, I'm asking for support for the future of this state -- I'm asking for children! she exclaimed.

I believe what I say when I believe we must raise the sales tax a fraction of a cent to invest in education. Perdue said she would take her message around the state. She has already visited Charlotte at least once.

Two people have already announced that they would like to take her place in the Governor s Mansion. Lt. Governor Walter Dalton and State Rep. Bill Faison of Orange County will face off in a Democratic primary.

Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, Perdue s opponent in the last election, is expected to announce Tuesday that he s running.

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx is also considering throwing his hat in the ring. Saturday night, Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jennifer Roberts told NewsChannel 36 that she might consider running for lieutenant governor.

Roberts said she doesn t want to run against Anthony Foxx, but she would love to run with him.

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