Martin Nesbitt (politician)

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Martin Nesbitt
Martin Nesbitt.jpg
Minority Leader of the North Carolina Senate
In office
January 2011 – March 6, 2014
Preceded byPhilip E. Berger
Succeeded byDan Blue
Member of the North Carolina Senate
from the 49th district
In office
February 2004 – March 6, 2014
Preceded bySteve Metcalf
Succeeded byTerry Van Duyn
Personal details
Martin Luther Nesbitt Jr.

(1946-09-25)September 25, 1946
Asheville, North Carolina, U.S.
DiedMarch 6, 2014(2014-03-06) (aged 67)
Asheville, North Carolina, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic

Martin Luther Nesbitt Jr. (September 25, 1946 – March 6, 2014) was a Democratic member of the North Carolina Senate. He represented the 49th district (Buncombe County). An attorney from Asheville, North Carolina, Nesbitt was elected to eleven terms in the state House before moving to the state senate in 2004.

Political career[edit]

Nesbitt was first appointed to the House in 1979 to fill out the remainder of the term of his mother, Mary Cordell Nesbitt, who held the House seat until her death. Groomed by one of North Carolina's most famous and influential politicians, Liston Ramsey, Nesbitt rose to become an appropriations chairman and top budget writer in the 1990s. Former Speaker of the House Jim Black (who was later incarcerated) found disfavor with Nesbitt after Nesbitt challenged his power in the early 2000s.

In February 2004, Martin Nesbitt was appointed to the North Carolina Senate by Governor Mike Easley to fill the vacant seat left by the resignation of Steve Metcalf. After moving to the Senate, Nesbitt rose to become chairman of the powerful Judiciary I Civil Committee.

Nesbitt was unanimously elected majority leader on November 17, 2009, replacing Tony Rand.[1][2] Prior to his election, he received an endorsement from Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight, a powerful nod in North Carolina politics.[3] After Democrats lost their Senate majority in the 2010 elections, Nesbitt was unanimously elected minority leader for the next legislature.[4] He stepped down as minority leader in 2014 for health reasons, and was succeeded by Sen. Daniel T. Blue Jr.[5] Within two days of resigning from the leadership, Nesbitt died.[6][7]


Nesbitt was in several senate committees:[8]

  • Appropriations/Base Budget
  • Commerce
  • Finance
  • Judiciary I
  • Mental Health & Youth Services
  • Redistricting
  • Rules and Operations of the Senate
  • State and Local Government

Education and personal life[edit]

Nesbitt earned his bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1970 and his law degree from UNC in 1973.[9] He was married with two grown children and two grandchildren at the time of his death.

He died on March 6, 2014, one week after being diagnosed with stomach cancer. He was 67.[7]


  1. ^ "Nesbitt elected majority leader". Asheville Citizen-Times. November 17, 2009. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  2. ^ Johnson, Mark (November 17, 2009). "Nesbitt: Warrior to majority leader". News & Observer. Archived from the original on February 8, 2013.
  3. ^ News & Observer: Nesbitt gets Basnight nod Archived 2012-03-18 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "NC Senate Democrats choose leaders". The News & Observer. December 18, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  5. ^ Burns, Matthew; Binker, Mark (March 4, 2014). "Blue to replace ailing Nesbitt as leader of Senate Dems". Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  6. ^ Frank, John (March 7, 2014). "Morning Memo: Remembering state Sen. Martin Nesbitt". The News & Observer. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Chambers Jr., Stan (March 6, 2014). "State Senator Martin Nesbitt dies from stomach cancer". Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  8. ^ Office of the Senate Principal Clerk (September 17, 2012). "Senate Committee Assignments by Member" (PDF). North Carolina General Assembly. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  9. ^ "Official Profile: North Carolina (NC) State Senator Martin Luther Nesbitt, Jr. [NC Senate]". Freedom Speaks. Archived from the original on January 24, 2013.

External links[edit]