June 26, 2020

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Latest News, North Carolina

ICYMI: News & Observer Editorial: Dan Forest Does North Carolina A Favor With His Embarrassing COVID-19 Stunt

“It’s a 60-yard Hail Mary with a 30-yard arm.”

Today, the News & Observer Editorial Board called out GOP gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Dan Forest for trying a “Hail Mary” in an effort to save his flailing campaign.

Forest announced yesterday he’s planning to sue Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper for his COVID-19 executive orders, even though the majority of North Carolinians stand with Gov. Cooper. Forest even lost the support of his fellow Republicans on the Council of State – they refused to sign on to the lawsuit.

Forest is falling so far behind Gov. Cooper that he’s resorting to publicity stunts and white nationalism. In addition to this extremely troubling behavior, the News & Observer reminds North Carolinians how dangerous it would be to have Forest in charge of the COVID-19 second wave: “We could be Arizona right now, facing an alarming surge of cases after a too-quick reopening. We could be Texas, where the governor was forced to close bars and restrict restaurant capacity Friday.”

After all, Forest’s recommendation for battling COVID-19? Let’s try “herd immunity,” a technique that public health officials say would result in the deaths of half a million Americans.

Read more about Forest’s fail below:

News and Observer Editorial: Dan Forest does North Carolina a favor with his embarrassing COVID-19 stunt

Pity Dan Forest. North Carolina’s lieutenant governor is trailing incumbent Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper by double digits with Election Day just five page-turns away on the calendar. Despite frequent jabs from Republicans, the governor has strong favorability ratings, and nothing Forest does seems to move the needle.

He’s tried dabbling publicly in white nationalism, telling a church congregation that “[N]o other nation, my friends, has ever survived the diversity and multiculturalism that America faces today, because of a lack of assimilation, because of this division, and because of this identity politics.”

He’s tried the shock-and-awful route, claiming at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis that the governor lacked the authority to order bars to close and restaurants to shut down their dining rooms – and saying that such orders were a bad idea.

And so this week, the lieutenant governor is making another reach for the headlines. In an email to the governor, Forest says that he wants to sue Cooper for issuing public health orders without the concurrence of the 10-member Council of State. Forest says that’s a violation of the Emergency Management Act, although Cooper and his office already have cited several statutes that allow the governor and Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen to mandate quarantines and closures.

Notably, no one else in the Council of State, which includes several Republicans, has joined or even rallied behind the lieutenant governor in his lawsuit. It’s a 60-yard Hail Mary with a 30-yard arm.

Make no mistake, Forest’s threat isn’t really about winning in court. It’s about his campaign trying to tap into a frustration in North Carolina that Cooper isn’t moving fast enough to help struggling businesses and workers by reopening the rest of the economy. 

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And while some business owners remain frustrated with the pace of Cooper’s reopening, polls have consistently shown that North Carolinians support Cooper’s actions on COVID-19. 

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If anything, Forest is doing everyone a favor with his political stunt. He’s reminding North Carolina that he was against the intent of Cooper’s initial COVID orders, which he said back in March “will devastate our economy.” If Forest were governor during this pandemic, we likely would have reopened too quickly – or perhaps not closed enough at the start. We could be Arizona right now, facing an alarming surge of cases after a too-quick reopening. We could be Texas, where the governor was forced to close bars and restrict restaurant capacity Friday.

That’s not just a scary hypothetical. If Forest wins in November, he’ll be managing the inevitable second wave of the epidemic.

For now, he’s just a candidate, but he’s also a standard bearer for the state GOP, and he’s a lieutenant governor who is threatening to sue his boss. Not surprisingly, that’s grabbed some national headlines and cable news crawls, which not only is an embarrassment to Forest, but to his state. That’s not good for anyone in North Carolina, but Dan Forest wasn’t really thinking of anyone else this week. He was trying once again to say anything to bring himself and his foundering campaign some attention. It’s a wonder that hasn’t worked so far.