ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WNCT) – North Carolina’s attorney general, Roy Cooper, ended months of speculation by declaring he’s running for governor in the 2016 election.
Cooper made the announcement in his hometown of Nash County at Nash Community College.
“Governor McCrory has the wrong priorities for North Carolina,” he declared.
Cooper’s served as the state’s attorney general since 2000.
During that time, he’s made a few visits to the East. He spent the last two years speaking about his preparations for a governor bid.
Brian and Robin Crawford brought their young daughter to Cooper’s announcement.
“The current leadership does not support the economics of the low and middle class,” Brian Crawford said. “I think Roy Cooper can get that message across.”
Cooper said Gov. McCrory has cut taxes for the wealthy, expanded the sales tax and failed to properly fund schools.
The state Republican Party hosted a press conference before Cooper’s announcement where executive director Dallas Woodhouse argued Cooper would advocate for higher taxes, increased government spending and education cuts.
“Roy Cooper isn’t the future. He is the past,” Woodhouse said. “He isn’t the solution. We think he’s part of the long-standing problem.”
An Elon University poll conducted in September showed McCrory leading Cooper by just one point.
The poll also reported 11 percent of registered voters are undecided.
Cooper has a big lead over McCrory in fundraising.
Campaign disclosure reports said Cooper raised $3 million in the bank while McCrory has $1.3 million.
Before he could face Governor Pat McCrory, who is seeking re-election, Cooper has to win the Democratic Primary on March 15, 2016.
So far, the only other Democratic candidate is former state representative Ken Spaulding.