Forest shuffles staff as governor’s race begins

N.C. Lt. Governor Dan Forest shakes hands with Senate Leader Phil Berger at the Ag Rally in Raleigh on June 25, 2018. Lauren Rose, North State Journal

RALEIGH — Lt. Gov. Dan Forest on Monday announced the appointment of Hal Weatherman as chairman of The Dan Forest Exploratory Committee for Governor. According to a release by Forest’s campaign, Weatherman will direct the Exploratory Committee’s statewide rollout and will oversee the day-to-day operations of the campaign. Weatherman will ultimately become Forest’s campaign manager once he formally announces for the office.

Weatherman resigned from his role as chief of staff of the office of lieutenant governor, a position he has held since Forest was first elected in 2012. He managed Forest’s two previous campaigns for lieutenant governor and is the former longtime chief of staff for Forest’s mother, former U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick. Weatherman successfully ran eight of her re-election campaigns.

The Office of the Lieutenant Governor announced staffing changes after the campaign announced Weatherman’s move. Steven Walker, longtime general counsel, will take over Weatherman’s duties as chief of staff. Walker retains general counsel duties as well. Jamey Falkenbury will serve as director of innovations and communications, Danielle Jordan will serve as director of operations and constituent services, and Blake Brewer will serve as policy adviser.

Forest announced the exploratory committee last week and released a brief video in which he talks about building a better North Carolina.

Prior to serving as North Carolina’s first two-term Republican lieutenant governor, Forest was an architect and served as senior partner at Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, one of North Carolina’s largest firms.

No other candidates have yet announced their intention to seek the GOP nomination for governor in 2020.