North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced his run for the democratic nomination for governor last night in Rocky Mount.
Cooper’s announcement was no surprise. The attorney general has been open about his desire to run since at least 2013. He took the stage at Nash County Community College near his hometown of Nashville, in eastern North Carolina.
“It is time for our state to work for everyone, not just the few," Cooper told the crowd. "That’s why today I am announcing that I am a candidate for governor of North Carolina.”
Cooper is the second Democrat to jump in the race, after Durham attorney Ken Spaulding. But in his speech, Cooper focused criticism on Governor Pat McCrory and his support for corporate tax breaks and other policies Cooper says only benefit the wealthiest North Carolinians.
“Governor McCrory has the wrong priorities for North Carolina—giving away the store to those at the top at the expense of the middle class and our schools," he said.
Schools came up more than a few times in Cooper’s speech, as he hit the governor and General Assembly for their decisions about education funding.
“Our schools are starved for resources. Our best and brightest teachers are leaving for better pay and more respect,” he said.
Cooper served in the legislature for 15 years, first in the House and then the Senate, before he became Attorney General in 2001. Cooper’s long career in state politics was one thing North Carolina GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse highlighted in a news conference before the announcement—but not as a good thing.
“It is important to remember that Roy Cooper has been part of the political class inside the Raleigh belt-line for the last 30 years," Woodhouse said.
Woodhouse also blasted Cooper for voting for tax hikes and spending increases during his time as a lawmaker.
As of June 30, Cooper’s campaign had out-raised McCrory’s by $900,000.