- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina Senate Democrats are keeping veteran lawmaker Dan Blue of Raleigh as their leader for the next two years and chose a relative newcomer as minority whip.

The Senate Democratic Caucus meeting Wednesday in Raleigh voted Blue as minority leader. Blue succeeded Sen. Martin Nesbitt of Asheville last March just before Nesbitt died. Blue was House speaker in the early 1990s.

Minority whip is Sen. Terry Van Duyn, who was appointed last April to serve out Nesbitt’s Senate term. Caucus spokesman Ford Porter said outgoing whip Sen. Josh Stein of Raleigh declined to run again. Stein is considering a 2016 run for attorney general. Sen. Ben Clark of Raeford is caucus secretary.

Democrats will hold 16 of the Senate’s 50 seats, one less compared to the past two years.

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