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Real Facts NC

Is Thom Tillis running for governor?

An out-of-state PAC is pitting all-but-announced gubernatorial candidate Dan Forest against U.S. Senator Thom Tillis in paid Facebook ads. The intent of the Florida-based Principled Leadership Fund PAC is unclear. But what is clear is that conservative circles are talking about Tillis making a run for Governor in 2020—only two and a half years into his first term. Being in Washington doesn’t seem to be all Sen. Thom Tillis thought it would be. 

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Where in the world is Dan Forest?

North Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest has been noticeably absent from several key events in the state so far in 2017.

  • Most recently, Forest was in Salt Lake City, Utah and missed the NC Senate’s budget debate on May 11-12. (A budget that would add three people to his security detail btw, see below)

The NC Senate debated the budget on May 11 from about 4 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. They came back into session for the third reading at 12:05 a.m. on May 12. Forest, who’s role as Lt. Gov. makes him President of the Senate, did not preside over either session. Instead Forest was presiding over an empty chamber in the Utah Senate.

  

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Council of State to Dan Forest: Call me, beep me

The Lieutenant Governor of NC doesn’t have a lot to do under the state’s Constitution. The few formal constitutional duties assigned include serving as President of the Senate and on the Council of State. 

Despite this, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest has been busy this year traveling the state from the mountains to the coast. He also hasn’t missed opportunities to leave the state, even if they interfere with his few Constitutional duties. 

Today, Dan Forest was again absent from the meeting of the Council of State. Forest had to be called in for the October meeting, but this morning, his voice was conspicuously absent from the phone.

 

Council of State Meeting, Tuesday, November 7, 2017
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Dan Forest lauds state education funding in Onslow County, which ranks 110 of out 115 in state spending on schools

“We are sixth in the nation for state funding for education.” That’s what Lt. Gov. Dan Forest told a gathering of local Republicans on Friday. It’s not the first time Forest has made this debunked claim, but what’s really out of touch is where he said it.

Forest lauded state education spending while speaking in Onslow County, a county that is falling behind in statewide per pupil spending. 

Over the past four years, Onslow County has consistently received less money than the average from the state per pupil. In the 2015-2016 school year, the average per pupil state spending was $5724.21, but Onslow County Schools only received $5,247.34. During this same year, Onslow County ranked 110th out of 115 NC Local Education Agencies, or LEAs, in state funding per pupil. 

Per Pupil Expenditures

School Year

Onslow Spending

State Spending in Onslow

Avg. State Spending

2015-16

5,247.34

5,247.34

5,724.21

2014-15

5,247.34

5,249.80

5,638.39

2013-14

2,258.99

5,025.95

5,390.12

2012-13

1,984.17

4,961.27

5,399.64

(NC Public Schools, per pupil expenditures, child nutrition included, 2012-2016)
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Dan Forest openly coveting the Governor’s Mansion

It’s no secret that Lt. Gov. Dan Forest wants to be Governor. At a local GOP event in Craven County, he all but made it official. According to the New Bern Sun Journal on February 28, Forest “predicted that, in four years, he would be governor.”

This week Forest told Tim Boyum, “I’d love to be governor someday.”

He may be the first Republican to openly talk about a 2020 bid for Governor, but he won’t be the last.

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