Dan Forest takes next step in 2020 bid for governor

Madeline Gray | North State Journal
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest addresses the North Carolina Senate during the opening day of the 2017 legislative session on Jan. 11.

RALEIGH — North Carolina’s Lt. Gov. Dan Forest has taken another step toward running for governor in 2020.

Forest announced Monday that he has formed an “exploratory” committee to seek the GOP nomination, releasing a brief video in which he talks about building a better North Carolina.

There’s been little doubt since the conservative and former architect was first elected in 2012 that he would run. Every lieutenant governor in North Carolina of the last 50 years has tried to move up the executive branch ladder. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is already amassing money for a re-election bid.

Forest, 51, also has been raising campaign funds, but now he has filed documentation with the state elections board making clear that money would go for a potential governor’s run, a campaign spokesman said.

Forest’s video begins with footage of confrontations between protesters and police and between black and white men arguing on the street.

“When our culture values division over unity … when incivility replaces common decency, it’s time to change,” Forest narrates in the video. “There is another way, a way that begins with seeing the intrinsic value and worth of each of our people, a way that is decent and good and civil.”

Prior to serving as North Carolina’s first two-term Republican Lt. Governor, Forest was an architect and served as senior partner at Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, one of North Carolina’s largest firms. He is the son of former Charlotte mayor and U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick. Forest and his wife Alice, who is featured in his announcement video, have four children.

Cooper is expected to attend a re-election fundraiser Thursday at a New York home, according to a copy of the invitation provided by a Cooper campaign aide.

It’s unclear if either candidate will face significant primary challenges in March 2020. Republican former Gov. Pat McCrory, who narrowly lost to Cooper in 2016, said earlier this month he would evaluate potential bids for governor next year and for the U.S. Senate in 2022. Candidate filing for 2020 begins in December.

North State Journal staff contributed to this report.