The list of Democratic options to replace Gov. Bev Perdue in North Carolina is being pared down in a hurry.
And that may not be a bad thing for Democrats.
Rep. Heath Shuler announced on Tuesday that he will not be running. His announcement came just hours after Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx said that he won't run, joining high profile Attorney General Roy Cooper, who said last week that he is not making a bid.
"I will not be running for governor of North Carolina in 2012. It is an honor to even be discussed as a potential candidate for such an esteemed office, but now is not my time," was all Shuler said in a statement.
The buzziest remaining possibility is Erskine Bowles. Bowles, the former University of North Carolina president who chaired the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility, stacked up better than other Democrats against presumptive Republican nominee Pat McCrory in an automated poll conducted by Democratic pollster PPP that was released on Monday. Bowles has run statewide twice before -- for the Senate in 2002 and 2004 -- but came up short on both occasions as his party's nominee.
The last thing Democrats want to see is a contentious, crowded, chaotic primary without clear frontrunners.
But even if more names take themselves out of the running, there is already an active primary in the works: both Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton and State Rep. Bill Faison are running. So it doesn't look like Democrats will be able to avoid competition altogether, even if Bowles or another high-profile name jumps in.