RALEIGH — Lt. Gov. Dan Forest made an appearance at the NCGOP headquarters in Raleigh after initial returns showed he already held a significant lead in the primary for governor. At the time of his remarks, Forest led by over half a million votes over his opponent, Rep. Holly Grange (R-New Hanover).
The Lt. Gov. spoke for about four minutes, thanking supporters of his grassroots campaign and all of the volunteers for their hard work and thanking his wife, Alice, for her support. In August of 2019, Forest officially announced his bid for governor at a rally in Winston-Salem.
Forest said his campaign is based on three things “unity, opportunity and possibility.”
“We live in a very divisive time right now and we believe it is time to pull all North Carolinians together, to do away with identity politics for the good of North Carolina,” Forest said.
Forest went on to highlight his support for school choice, saying that every student should have the opportunity excellent education “regardless of your zip code.”
“It’s time to start dwelling on the future,” said Forest, adding it was time to look ahead and “cast a vision for the future.”
“We are blessed to live in the greatest country in the world,” Forest said. “And even doubly blessed to live in the greatest state in the greatest country in the world. So I think our opportunity and possibility are endless for our state.”
Forest said he looks forward to the rest of the campaign, noting that it will likely be the number one governor’s race in the country as well as the number one senate race in the country and the importance of the Republican National Convention taking place in Charlotte in August. A representative of the Republican Governor’s Association was also at the event.
“There’s going to be a lot of attention on North Carolina politically. It’s going to be the tip of the spear,” Forest said. “Our job is to push forward with a positive campaign.
While results are not finalized, all precincts have reported and Grange finished with around 86,000 votes versus Forest who pulled in nearly 700,000, which is just shy of 89% of votes cast. Forest won in all 100 counties, including Grange’s home county of New Hanover, taking 72% of the ballots cast there.
On the other side of the aisle, Democratic governor Roy Cooper easily beat his challenger, Ernest Reeves with over 1.1 million votes, which is roughly 87% of the ballots cast.
Forest first ran for lieutenant governor 2012 and was only the second Republican to hold that office since 1897. In 2016, he was re-elected by over 300,000 votes, surpassing the winning vote totals for both Gov. Cooper and President Trump.
The race for the governor’s mansion has been characterized as a “toss-up” by Politico, but Forest could likely see a boost on the ballot from President Trump as his supporters in the state remain galvanized after the president was acquitted of impeachment by the U.S. Senate.
Watch Forest’s full remarks at NCGOP headquarters: