RALEIGH – Governor Roy Cooper was in the national spotlight over the last couple days as the President Donald Trump pressed him for assurances that the Republican National Convention in Charlotte will not be restricted due to executive orders. Cooper has been coy, however, sanctimoniously asserting that protecting lives is the bottom line and giving no concrete answers.
His 2020 opponent, Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest, thinks Cooper is either unwilling to lead on reopening the state with clear plans; or, he doesn’t want Trump’s convention in North Carolina. Forest had this to say in a statement Wednesday:
“If Governor Cooper wants the economic boom that a convention brings to a state, then he is responsible for putting together the rules to make that happen. With the governor’s track record of changing the rules of the game, I agree with President Trump that assurances are needed from the Cooper administration within the week. His administration doesn’t have a problem micromanaging the rest of our economy. So, when other states in our region are clamoring for the opportunity to host the RNC, Gov. Cooper is either not willing to lead or he doesn’t want the convention in Charlotte.”
Forest, who put the campaign on pause as the pandemic and closure policies wrecked livelihoods across the state and nation, has been calling on the governor to give more local flexibility in reopening plans. The lieutenant governor warned early about the collateral damage from closing businesses by decree, and has argued for a more constitutional approach that takes real data into account.
Polls put Cooper in a significant lead as he soaks up emergency management press attention, but the contest should tighten up as more general election attention is paid to the state in coming months. The convention is a big part of that, and Cooper knows it.