A retired Clerk of Superior Court in Washington County, Spear has served 3.5 terms in the state legislature and was originally appointed to the position in January 2006 to replace William "Bill" Cullpepper of Chowan County who had resigned in order to accept a seat on the state utilities commission.
Spear is the second area legislator to make such a decision as he joins First District State Representative Bill Owens of Elizabeth City who is ending his ninth term in the legislature. Owens also recently announced his decision not to run for re-election. Both Spear and Owens received considerable criticism from the local and state democratic party loyalists this year when they voted, along with three other House Democrats to override Governor Beverly Perdue's veto of the Republican budget. Neither Owens or Spear would say whether that played into their decision. Both legislators were strong allies of State Senator Marc Basnight who resigned from office in January, for health reasons, after serving 26 years in Raleigh.