Friday, 31 July 2020 12:13

Forest campaign bus makes stop in Rockingham

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Republican candidate for the Richmond County Board of Commissioners Andy Grooms receives a Dan Forest T-shirt during a stop in Rockingham by the gubernatorial candidate's campaign bus. Republican candidate for the Richmond County Board of Commissioners Andy Grooms receives a Dan Forest T-shirt during a stop in Rockingham by the gubernatorial candidate's campaign bus. William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — “Run Forest, run,” yelled Kenny Gatlin from his truck as he pulled up to the Dan Forest campaign bus Thursday.

The bus for the lieutenant governor, who is challenging Gov. Roy Cooper for the state’s highest elected position, was in the parking lot of Richmond Plaza near Firehouse Subs for about an hour.

Gatlin was handed a free red T-shirt featuring the phrase he had just uttered. Other campaign materials handed out included stickers, fans, rubber wristbands and yard signs.

Forest was not on the bus, but back in Raleigh, according to a campaign staffer, who was not authorized to answer questions.

A Charlotte native, Forest left a career in architecture in 2012 to run for his current position — becoming only the second Republican lieutenant governor since 1897 — serving under Gov. Pat McCrory.

The first was Jim Gardner, who was elected during Gov. Jim Martin’s second term in 1988.

In 2016, Forest was the first Republican lieutenant governor to be re-elected, this time with a Democratic Cooper as governor.

In North Carolina, the governor and lieutenant governor run separately.

According to his campaign website, Forest has “continually advocated for policies that drive economic growth, create jobs and spur innovation. He’s also been a supporter of the school choice movement and free speech on college campuses.

Rockingham was the second of five stops scheduled for the day. The first stop was in Raeford, while later locations included Monroe, Steele Creek (southwest of Charlotte) and Cornelius.

Several local Republicans helped pass out campaign materials and among others who stopped by the bus were Richmond County Republican Party Chairman Jerry Austin and County Commissioner candidate Andy Grooms.

Forest filed a lawsuit against Cooper on July 1, arguing the governor exceeded his authority in issuing executive orders that shut down much of the state's economy.

The two will square off in November against each other and Libertarian candidate Steven J. DiFiore and Constitution Party candidate Al Pisano.