RALEIGH – Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest’s 2020 campaign for governor announced key campaign staff Tuesday. Forest has long been assumed a front runner for the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Democrat Governor Roy Cooper.
Hal Weatherman, familiar to many as Forest’s former chief of staff in the lieutenant governor’s office, has assumed the campaign manager role for the 2020 gubernatorial bid. He will responsible for the strategic direction and day to day operations of the statewide campaign. Weatherman previously served as chairman of the Exploratory Committee, and also managed Forest’s two successful runs for lieutenant governor.
Joining Weatherman will be Jim Duncan, the former chairman of the Chatham County GOP and a founding member of the nonpartisan Coalition for American Principles, a grassroots citizens group dedicated to fiscal responsibility and individual liberty. Duncan will be responsible for administrative oversight and compliance.
Finally, the Forest campaign announced the hiring of Andrew Dunn as communications director. Dunn is the founder of Long Leaf Politics and also previously wrote articles for First in Freedom Daily. A veteran journalist with more than a decade of experience as a reporter and editor at North Carolina news organizations, including the Charlotte Observer and the StarNews in Wilmington, Dunn will also serve as the lead spokesman for the campaign.
The Forest 2020 team expansion comes as many North Carolina politicos expect a Republican primary candidate announcement from N.C. House member Holly Grange (R-New Hanover). With the reported backing of the likes of Sen. Thom Tillis (RINO-NC) and assurances of a trove of establishment donor money, a Grange candidacy would represent the most significant unanticipated hurdle for the Forest for Governor campaign.