North Carolina will have a chance to elect a Governor in 2020. It will either re-elect or turn out the incumbent, Roy Cooper (D). Cooper acquired a certain degree of national notoriety in 2007, as state Attorney General, when he stepped in to take responsibility away from the prosecutor handling rape charges against the Duke Lacrosse team. Cooper then declared the team members the victims of a “tragic rush to accuse.” He dismissed the case.
Cooper also accomplished something rare in 2016 — he became the first challenger to defeat an incumbent governor in that state since before the Civil War. One natural question: was Cooper’s win over his precursor, Pat McCrory, unique? Or did he inaugurate an era of defeatable incumbents in the Tar Heel State, an era of which he could also be the first victim?
The Thing to Know:
The state’s Lieutenant Governor, Dan Forest, is the most likely Republican nominee to run against Cooper next fall. Forest was also Lieutenant Governor under McCrory but won reelection to his post in 2016 despite McCrory’s loss. It is generally expected that a Cooper/Forest campaign will be hard fought and close.