Republicans Start Wading Into 2020 Race for Lieutenant Governor

CHARLOTTE – Democrats’ dance card is nearly full when it comes to declared contenders for the 2020 lieutenant governor race – former state lawmaker Cal Cunningham, former Charlotte City Councilman Malcolm Graham, and State Senator Terry Van Duyn have all declared intentions – but Republican contenders have been hard to find as of yet.

That could be changing according to Long Leaf Politics. They are reporting that sources close to former Mecklenburg Commission vice chairman Jim Puckett are saying he is considering a run for the seat Dan Forest will term out of in 2020.

“Puckett is a former school board member for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and of Lake Norman Charter School.

He’s reportedly considering a 100-county listening tour to hear from teachers about their thoughts on reforming teacher pay and making the classroom environment more conducive to teaching, the source tells Longleaf Politics.”

The lieutenant governor role is a unique one in that it has the potential for a high statewide profile, but, at the same time, has little actual leverage in forming and implementing policy. As such, lieutenant governors usually pick an area, like education, to focus on and use the (limited) power of the position’s bully pulpit to shape the policy conversation to the extent they can.

So with the seal possibly broken for Republican entrants in this 2020 race for lieutenant governor, will it induce a handful of others to come out and declare their intentions?

To be sure, Puckett wouldn’t be the first Republican to announce a bid for 2020 lieutenant governor; Deborah Cochran, the former mayor of Mount Airy, announced as much back in May of 2018. However, the statewide, low downside open seat is likely to attract more Republicans who would find it an attractive launch pad for higher, or federal, offices.

We’ll examine the makeup of the contenders as they come forward, hoping that one of them inspires confidence from the conservative base much like Dan Forest has. For now, you can learn more about Jim Puckett’s intentions as told by the sources of Long Leaf Politics here.

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