Dan Forest

Last updated

Dan Forest
Dan Forest - Flag.jpg
34th Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina
In office
January 7, 2013 January 9, 2021
Governor Pat McCrory
Roy Cooper
Preceded by Walter Dalton
Succeeded by Mark Robinson
Personal details
Born (1967-10-15) October 15, 1967 (age 53)
Harrisonburg, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s)Alice Forest
Children4
Parents Sue Myrick (mother)
Education University of North Carolina, Charlotte (BArch, MArch)

Dan Forest (born October 15, 1967) [1] is an American politician who served as the 34th lieutenant governor of North Carolina from 2013 to 2021. An architect by trade, he was the Republican nominee for Governor of North Carolina in the 2020 election, losing to incumbent governor Roy Cooper.

Contents

Early life and education

Forest was born in Harrisonburg, Virginia, [2] and grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. [3] His mother, Sue Myrick, was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, [4] who represented a Charlotte-based congressional district from 1995 to 2013. [5] Forest received a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in architecture from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. [6] An architect, [4] Forest was a senior partner at an architectural firm in Charlotte before being elected lieutenant governor. [6]

Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina (2013–2021)

Elections

In 2012, in his first run for office, Forest placed first in a five-way May primary election, with 32.98% of the vote; Wake County commissioner Tony Gurley received 24.83% of the vote, Speaker Pro Tempore of the North Carolina House of Representatives Dale Folwell received 24.25% of the vote; state representative Grey Mills received 14.67% of the vote, and Arthur Jason Rich received 3.28% of the vote. [7] Forest and Gurley advanced to the July 2012 second primary (runoff election), in which Forest secured the Republican nomination, defeating Gurley 67.87%32.13%. [8]

In the November 2012 general election, Forest defeated the Democratic nominee, former state representative Linda Coleman, by an extremely small marginForest received 2,187,728 votes (50.08%) to Coleman's 2,180,870 (49.92%). [9] Coleman opted not to seek a recount, although the margin was small enough for her to be entitled to one. [10] He was sworn in on January 7, 2013. [11] [12]

In a November 2016 rematch against Coleman, Forest was re-elected lieutenant governor, receiving 2,393,514 votes (51.81%) to Coleman's 2,093,375 votes (45.32%); Libertarian Party candidate Jacki Cole received 132,645 (2.87%). [13] His second term began on January 1, 2017.

Tenure in office

As lieutenant governor, Forest was the state's second-highest elected official and the president of the North Carolina Senate, [4] as well as a member of the Council of State. [14] Forest began a one-year term as the chairman of the Republican Lieutenant Governors Association in 2018. [15]

Forest emphasized his fiscally conservative and socially conservative views. [16] He was a strong supporter of North Carolina's controversial H.B. 2, state legislation that overrode an ordinance passed by the City of Charlotte that extended the protection of anti-discrimination laws to LGBT persons. [4] Forest was also a leading supporter of proposals to adopt a state "religious freedom restoration" act, a controversial bill on religion. [17] Forest supports the elimination of income tax and its replacement by a "consumption tax". [4]

As lieutenant governor, Forest appeared with Trump at a rally in 2016, at which he voiced support for Trump. [18] In a 2018 speech to the conservative think tank Civitas, Forest asserted that political issues such as climate change and gun control "really is the religion of the left" and that "the left...don't have a hope in God. They have no hope in a higher power." [19] Forest's remarks were criticized by Democrats; state senators Paul Lowe Jr. and Mike Woodard said that the comments "only serve to insult, belittle and divide people of faith, no matter their political beliefs." [20] In a June 2019 speech to a church, Forest stated that no nation "has survived the diversity and multiculturalism that America faces today"; the remark prompted criticism. [21]

In mid-March 2020, Forest opposed Governor Roy Cooper's closure of bars and restriction of restaurants to take-out and delivery only on the grounds it didn't give bars and restaurants enough time to prepare, [22] [23] and in mid-April, Forest called for the immediate reopening of public places with non-binding guidance from state government. [24] In June 2020, Forest announced that he was suing Governor Cooper over his coronavirus executive orders, alleging that the governor could not issue the directives without the concurrence of the Council of State. [25] The lawsuit was later withdrawn after a loss in Superior Court. [26]

2020 North Carolina gubernatorial election

In January 2019, Forest announced the formation of an exploratory committee to run for governor to challenge incumbent Democratic governor Roy Cooper in 2020. [27] At the outset, Representative Mark Meadows, Chair of the House Freedom Caucus, indicated his support for Forest. [28] In August 2019, Forest formally launched his campaign. [29] In announcing his run, Forest denounced "socialism" and highlighted his strongly anti-abortion views. [29] During his campaign, Forest also called for an expanded state-funded school voucher program for which all North Carolinians, irrespective of income, would be eligible, [30] making this proposal a centerpiece of his campaign. [31]

In the Republican primary election in March 2020, Forest won the party's nomination, defeating state Representative Holly Grange of New Hanover by a broad margin. [32]

Although the race for governor in North Carolina occurred in an important swing state, attention to the campaign was largely overshadowed by the 2020 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. [24] In late March 2020, Cooper issued a stay-at-home directive and ordered the temporary closure of nonessential businesses to control the spread of the virus, beginning a phased, multi-step reopening in early May 2020 tied to benchmarks. [24] By contrast, Forest suggested that the dangers of the virus to most Americans had been exaggerated and echoed "Liberate" protesters. [24] Forest incorrectly claimed that influenza had killed more North Carolinians in 2020 than the coronavirus. [33] In September 2020, Forest said that, if elected, he would immediately reopen all K-12 public schools for in-person learning. When asked whether K-12 students returning to school should wear masks, Forest said, "I don't think so, I don't think there's any science that backs that up. That's my personal opinion." [34]

In April 2020, the Forest campaign said it had given nearly $200,000 from the gubernatorial campaign fund for COVID-19 economic assistance in North Carolina. [35] Forest also asserted that COVID-19-related restrictions were being used by "the left" to hurt the church. [36] During the pandemic, Forest met in close contact with others without wearing a face mask, in contravention of social distancing guidelines; he dismissed criticism as "ludicrous" and "stupid leftist talk." [24]

On November 3, 2020, Cooper defeated Forest by 4.51% in the general election [37]

Following his loss, Forest has been mentioned as a potential candidate for the 2022 North Carolina Senate race to fill the seat currently held by Senator Richard Burr who will not be running for re-election. [38]

Electoral history

North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Republican Primary Election, 2012
PartyCandidateVotes%
RepublicanDan Forest253,65632.98
RepublicanTony Gurley190,98024.83
RepublicanDale Folwell186,56424.25
RepublicanGrey Mills112,82414.67
RepublicanArthur Jason Rich25,2063.28
North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Republican Primary Runoff Election, 2012
PartyCandidateVotes%
RepublicanDan Forest101,96167.87
RepublicanTony Gurley48,27832.13
North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Election, 2012
PartyCandidateVotes%
RepublicanDan Forest2,187,72850.08
DemocraticLinda Coleman2,180,87049.92
North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Election, 2016
PartyCandidateVotes%
RepublicanDan Forest2,393,51451.81
DemocraticLinda Coleman2,093,37545.32
LibertarianJacki Cole132,6452.87
North Carolina Governor Election, 2020
PartyCandidateVotes%
DemocraticRoy Cooper2,834,79051.52
RepublicanDan Forest2,586,60447.01
LibertarianSteven DiFiore60,4491.10
ConstitutionAl Pisano20,934.38

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References

  1. "Dan Forest is Running for Governor Office. Everything we know about the Candidate". polityhub . March 4, 2020. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  2. Lt. Gov. Forest to speak at MACU in August, Daily Advance (June 28, 2017).
  3. Andy Warfield, Q&A: Dan Forest on what North Carolina must do to compete for business recruitment, Triad Business Journal (November 18, 2019).
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Adam Bell, Republican Forest widens lead in rematch with Coleman in N.C. Lt. Gov. race, News & Observer (November 8, 2016).
  5. Wesley Young, Forest announces run for governor in Winston-Salem, Winston-Salem Journal (August 17, 2019).
  6. 1 2 John Newsom, GTCC picks commencement speaker: Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, Greensboro News & Record (April 9, 2018).
  7. 05/08/2012 OFFICIAL PRIMARY ELECTION RESULTS - STATEWIDE, North Carolina State Board of Elections
  8. 07/17/2012 OFFICIAL SECOND PRIMARY ELECTION RESULTS - STATEWIDE, North Carolina State Board of Elections.
  9. 11/06/2012 OFFICIAL GENERAL ELECTION RESULTS - STATEWIDE, North Carolina State Board of Elections.
  10. Coleman concedes race for lieutenant governor to Forest, Associated Press (November 19, 2012).
  11. WWAY-TV
  12. WRAL: Forest sworn in as NC lt. governor
  13. 11/08/2016 OFFICIAL GENERAL ELECTION RESULTS - STATEWIDE, North Carolina State Board of Elections.
  14. Craig Jarvis, Serving two masters? Most Council of State candidates say no, News & Observer (May 10, 2016).
  15. Dan Way, Forest picked to help lead GOP lieutenant governors' group, Carolina Journal (December 13, 2016).
  16. Gary D. Robertson, Forest aims focus on opportunity, dignity if next governor, Associated Press (August 17, 2019).
  17. Lindsey Brunson, NC allies of controversial religious act press on, News & Observer (April 28, 2015).
  18. Jorge Valencia & Jess Clark, Clinton and Obama Rally In Charlotte, Trump Stops In Raleigh, WUNC (July 5, 2016).
  19. Paul A. Specht, Lt. Gov. Forest: Politics are the 'religion of the left', News & Observer (April 14, 2018).
  20. Paul A. Specht, Politics 'the religion of the left?' Democrats respond to Dan Forest, News & Observer (April 16, 2018).
  21. Paul A. Specht, Dan Forest: No nation 'has survived the diversity and multiculturalism that America faces today', News & Observer (June 28, 2019).
  22. A.P. Dillon, Emails put Cooper's restaurant and bar order back in the spotlight, North State Journal (June 2, 2020).
  23. Nick Ochsner, Emails show Republican majority on Council of State objected to Governor's order closing restaurants, WBTV (June 1, 2020).
  24. 1 2 3 4 5 Russell Berman, How the Pandemic Silenced the Nation’s Biggest Governor's Race, The Atlantic (May 22, 2020).
  25. Jessica Campisi, North Carolina's lieutenant governor says he will sue Gov. Roy Cooper over his coronavirus executive orders, CNN (June 25, 2020).
  26. Bryan Anderson, Forest Abandons Lawsuit Challenging Cooper Executive Orders, Associated Press (August 13, 2020).
  27. "Lt. Gov. Dan Forest takes next step toward 2020 governor race". WTVD . Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  28. "Forest isn't officially running yet, but he's earned a big endorsement for governor". newsobserver.com. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
  29. 1 2 Zachery Eane, Attacking socialism and identity politics, Dan Forest kicks off campaign for governor, News & Observer (August 17, 2019).
  30. Peter Orsi, Dan Forest wants every NC family to be eligible for a private school voucher, News & Observer (May 15, 2019).
  31. Dan Forest campaign produces school choice videos, News & Observer (November 7, 2019).
  32. Roy Cooper and Dan Forest will face off for North Carolina governor in November, News & Observer (March 4, 2020).
  33. Paul Specht, No, the flu hasn't killed more people than coronavirus, PolitiFact (May 6, 2020), republished by WRAL.
  34. Bryan Anderson, NC lieutenant governor: Reopen schools without mask mandate, Associated Press (September 16, 2020).
  35. Gary Robertson, Aide: Lt. Gov. Forest Uses Campaign Money for COVID-19 Help, USA Today (April 20, 2020).
  36. Travis Fain, Lieutenant governor tells NC pastors: COVID-19 limits part of culture war against Christianity, WRAL (May 15, 2020).
  37. NC State Board of Election.Election Results 11/3/2020
  38. Rogers, Alex (December 16, 2020). "Lara Trump's potential Senate candidacy does little to scare away Republican challengers in North Carolina". CNN. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
Political offices
Preceded by
Walter Dalton
Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina
2013–2021
Succeeded by
Mark Robinson
Party political offices
Preceded by
Pat McCrory
Republican nominee for Governor of North Carolina
2020
Most recent