Run, Tom, run

by | Jan 16, 2015 | 2016 Elections, Editor's Blog, US Senate | 20 comments

Whenever a door closes, another opens. And today, the University of North Carolina’s loss could be the Democrats’ gain. They’ve been looking for a Senate candidate to take on Richard Burr and few people fit the bill as well as UNC President Tom Ross. He’s got the profile, connections and gravitas to make a great U.S. Senator.

Tom Ross has had a stellar career as a leader in North Carolina. Before he became president of the UNC system, he was president of Davidson College, one of the South’s premier private liberal arts colleges. Before that, he was executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, one of the largest charitable foundations in the state. He also served as director of the administrative office of the courts and as a superior court judge.

At a time when people are fed up with politics as usual, Ross brings the heft of a career in public service. He also brings a solid background in education and North Carolina is still an education state, regardless of how hard the Republicans have tried to change that. Ross would be a formidable candidate who would bring instant credibility even if he lacks name recognition among the general public.

Run, Tom, Run. North Carolina needs you now more than ever. If the UNC Board of Governors is dumb enough to give you up, we’ll take you. You’re not ready to quit and we’re not ready to lose you. Run, Tom, Run.


  1. Tom Morris

    At what age will he simply retire and relax?

  2. randrewpayne

    Many in the University community, especially former members of the Board of Governors, have been calling for new leadership in the UNC presidency since the fall of 2011. Ross’ handling of the athletic-academic scandal at Carolina put the entire system in jeopardy. It began with his two-day illegal closed door meeting with the Board of Governors and his subsequent remarks that the scandal was over and no further investigation was needed. He then allowed UNC-CH Athletic Director Dick Baddour to retire even after overseeing years of fraud. Baddour is now the highest paid state retiree – receiving almost $300,000 a year in taxpayer funded pension. At every turn Ross has blocked the press from vital public records.

    Ross was not qualified to be UNC president and was placed in the position simply for being a Democratic Party insider, the same apparatus that failed Carolina for placing an unqualified Holden Thorp in the UNC-CH chancellorship. The same apparatus that drove former UNC president Molly Broad out of town.

    Instead of lamenting over Ross’s departure or suggesting some conspiracy exists – let’s spend our energy on calling on the Board of Governors to commence a search for a national higher education leader to be the next UNC president.

    • Mick

      Yes, Thorpe was unqualified—too young, too inexperienced, and too Blue. But Ross unqualified? I think not. Only if one demands a very traditional sort of university president(i.e., with doctorate long held, with stellar scholarship under his/her belt, and 10-20 years of higher ed admin experience via a sequence of college positions of higher responsibility, e.g., dept. chair > associate dean > dean >associate provost > provost) would one call Ross unqualified.

      I will be quite surprised if this BoG delivers that kind of university-forged national education leader as the next UNC system president. My hunch is it will be either a politician (current or former), a corporate CEO, or a career think-tanker (of the partisan sort), or a returned military officer.

  3. Jerry McGee

    He’d get my vote!

  4. Nancy G. Rorie (Sweet Union County)

    Me, too, Cullie, and he sure would.

  5. Cullie Tarleton

    I ‘d love to see Tom run for the US Senate. He ‘d make a great Senator.

  6. Thuaidh Cearuilin

    But you know what I really like about him? If you asked him about Jerry Kroll, Mike Maloy or Doug Cook I’m sure he would have an answer.

    • Thuaidh Cearuilin

      No bites on this one eh? And you people CLAIM to know something about Davidson College.

  7. Thuaidh Cearuilin

    He would sure fit the bill but he has a few problems. One is he’s white, the other is he’s male and lastly he’s (I suppose) heterosexual. There’s not a lot on his resume that would interest most Democrats. Plus 2016 could very well be another Republican year so why run a guy who could actually win?
    Nice try but no cigar on this one unless, eh…you know, you could talk him into that transgender thing.

    • Dale

      “He would sure fit the bill but he has a few problems. One is he’s white, the other is he’s male and lastly he’s (I suppose) heterosexual.”

      That’s a joke, right? Please tell me that’s a joke.

      • Thuaidh Cearuilin

        Yes Dale, it’s a joke. But for the joke to work there has to be an element of truth.
        You got it, right? Please tell me you got it.

        • cosmicjanitor

          Thuaidh, at first your comment above troubled me as I have read some of your previous comments and consider you a level headed individual who exercises good judgement; I was even more troubled after you added the part about an ‘element of truth’. However, after giving it more thought I realized your comments above were actually complementary, the element of truth being that the ‘real’ democratic party is all inclusive and not racist or bigoted like the ‘gop’. Tom Ross would make an excellent senatorial candidate, the challenge to the governorship needs to go to State Attorney General Roy Cooper. Would you please be so kind as to fill in the details on Jerry Knoll, Mike Maloy and Doug Cook as this has aroused my curiosity greatly……, thanks so much. I can be reached at if to respond on this forum is inappropriate.

          • Progressive Wing

            Sorry, Cosmicjanitor, but I think you may be reading too much “nicety” into T.C.’s comment. I haven’t found his past comments (on this and other comment threads) to be “level-headed” or showing “good judgment”; they have been on the snide and confrontational side, and they are often filled with too much polarizing name-calling. As such, I interpreted his remark as being just plain critical of Democrats.

          • Gregorious Collo-Rosso

            In the late 60’s Lefty Drisell coached the Davidson Wildcats. In the years 1968 and 1969 they made the East Regional final coming up against the mighty North Carolina Tar Heels, in both years. The ’69 final was especially thrilling as Charlie Scott hit a last second jump shot to send the Tar Heels to the final four (where Rick Mount and the Purdue Boilermakers kicked the “tar” outta ’em!).
            Kroll, Maloy (2nd. team All American) and Cook were the stars of that outstanding Davidson squad. Tom Ross was a student at Davidson then, he would remember those names.
            Now, if you’re a blow-in from New York or more into gay sex aides than sports, you probably wouldn’t know these facts. Ross would.

    • Artie

      Well, here’s the first attack on Tom Ross and the NC Democrats. I’ll take it as a bellwether sign that the opposition considers even his potential candidacy to be a threat.

      Run, Tom, Run.

  8. Mick

    Would be a great candidate for US Senator or Governor. Waaaay more and waaaay better experiences in public life than McCrory, and his previous judicial posts and two university presidencies (in the public and private sector) would bring a respect for and a depth to his candidacy for either post.
    As you say: Run, Tom, Run!

  9. John

    “One of” the South’s premier liberal arts colleges? THE premier liberal arts college in the South, and one of the country’s premier such institutions.

    Come on, Tom. 😉

  10. Judy hunt

    What about governor?

  11. Chris Holly

    I hear you, Thomsa, but won’t the problems with the UNC athletic programs give the GOP an opening to tar (sorry) his reputation?

    • Thomas Mills

      He wasn’t at UNC-Chapel Hill. He was over the 16-campus University system.

Related Posts


Get the latest posts from PoliticsNC delivered right to your inbox!

You have Successfully Subscribed!