Gov. Roy Cooper and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest to face off in general election for NC governor seat

Elections

“I Voted” stickers cover a table at a polling station during the North Carolina primary on Super Tuesday in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 3, 2020. – Forteen states and American Samoa are holding presidential primary elections, with over 1400 delegates at stake. Americans vote Tuesday in primaries that play a major role in who will challenge Donald Trump for the presidency, a day after key endorsements dramatically boosted Joe Biden’s hopes against surging leftist Bernie Sanders. The backing of Biden by three of his ex-rivals marked an unprecedented turn in a fractured, often bitter campaign. (Photo by Logan Cyrus / AFP) (Photo by LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/WNCN)— Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina won his party’s primary Tuesday and will face Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest in the November general election, seeking a second term. It’s a race that Forest has long been preparing for.

Cooper enters that matchup flush with cash and hoping his reelection could help Democrats take back one or both General Assembly chambers.

Cooper defeated primary challenger Ernest Reeves, who ran a low-key campaign and reported raising little money. Forest beat state Rep. Holly Grange, benefiting from a statewide campaign network that he began forming after his first lieutenant governor’s victory in 2012. He was reelected in 2016.

Cooper enters the fall campaign with a huge fundraising advantage: $9.5 million in cash as of mid-February, compared with about $750,000 for Forest.

Cooper’s first term has been marked by political combat with GOP legislative leaders, who have carried out a conservative agenda while controlling the General Assembly since 2011.

But gains by the Democrats in the Legislature in 2018 have allowed his vetoes to be upheld, and he has blocked many right-leaning policies since. Cooper’s veto of the two-year state budget last summer led to an impasse with Republicans that is yet to be resolved.

Forest is a favorite of social conservatives, speaking out against abortion and in favor of the state’s 2016 “bathroom bill,” which required transgender students to use the restroom matching their sex on their birth certificate. The law has been partially repealed.

Forest also has championed broadband service for public schools and teaching students to be financially literate.

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