Republican Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca announced Friday that he’s resigning from the General Assembly, a few months shy of his retirement.

From The News & Observer:

Apodaca, a Hendersonville Republican, has said he’s considering taking a job as a lobbyist. Resigning early means he can start the clock on a six-month “cooling off period” required for lawmakers who become lobbyists. The legislature won’t return to Raleigh until January.

A lobbyist?! Who’da thunk it?


Apodaca is one of the state’s most powerful lawmakers, and he announced last year he wouldn’t seek another term.
“It has been the honor of my lifetime to represent and serve the people of Western North Carolina in the state Senate,” Apodaca said in a news release Friday. “It was a privilege to serve in such a special institution and I am grateful for the many friendships formed with constituents and colleagues on both sides of the aisle.”

“Both sides of the aisle.” What a card.

The Hendersonville Lightning explains the process for replacing him:

Under state and local party rules, the Henderson County Executive Committee is entitled to appoint a replacement, who would serve until voters fill the seat in the Nov. 8 election. Hendersonville businessman Chuck Edwards, a Republican, and school principal Norm Bossert, the Democratic nominee, are running for the seat.

Apodaca quickly endorsed Edwards.

“I think it will be good for Chuck Edwards. I hope the executive committee appoints him,” he said. “He’ll be able to get to know the Legislature. The way he studies and the questions he asks he’ll keep the staff very busy.”

The senator leaves after suffering an embarrassing legislative defeat, and he’s holding grudges on his way out.

One of his bigger regrets was actually his last stand, when House members from Asheville attacked Apodaca’s motives and methods in pushing a bill that require district representation in the city dominated by liberal Democrats. Twenty-two Republicans joined House Democrats in defeating Apodaca’s bill.

“If you go down the list every one of them had a bone to pick because I said no to them on legislation” as the traffic cop for the flow of bills in the Senate, he said. “I don’t necessarily think it’s totally dead,” he said of the district elections bill. And he clearly retains animosity for the legislators who helped sink it. “Asheville has the weakest delegation in the state for a metropolitan area.”

Unfortunately, the onetime “political backbencher” enjoyed some legislative “victories” since his election in 2002, including one that will live in infamy: HB 2.

Go away, Tom.

And somebody, please, stick a wedge under that damn revolving door.