RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) – A Republican with ties to Greensboro has entered the race for governor, although it may not be the name you were expecting to hear.
Even as two other GOP politicians from the Triad consider trying to gain the nomination to replace Gov. Roy Cooper in 2024, State Treasurer Dale Folwell, who last year said he was “mulling” a run, made it official on Saturday.
Folwell, a former state legislator from Winston-Salem who earned degrees from UNC-Greensboro, confirmed his plans in an interview with The Associated Press. He first made the announcement at the Forsyth County Republican Party convention.
He joins Democrat Josh Stein, the attorney general, and Libertarian Mike Ross, a businessman from Gaston County, as the only confirmed candidates to succeed Cooper, who will complete his allowed eight years in office.
You might have been expecting the next big announcement to come from Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, a native of Greensboro who most consider the frontrunner because he is the highest-ranking elected Republican in the state. He is expected to announce his candidacy as soon as next month.
Or maybe even former U.S. Rep Mark Walker, also from Greensboro, who has said he is considering a run. Walker last year lost a primary bid for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate, won by Ted Budd, and has been looking for his next step.
Political blogger and Catawba College professor Michael Bitzer’s tracking site for state races includes those as possibilities and also has named Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, also of Greensboro, and even U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, as Republican possibilities. The only other Democrat mentioned is EPA Director Michael Regan, an NC A&T alum.
Folwell, 64, has been treasurer since 2017, earning 52.6% to beat Democrat Ronnie Chatterji in the 2020 race, and served four terms in the General Assembly before that. He would be considered by some to more moderate than the fiery and outspoken Robinson. He says his goal is to represent the public by “doing the right thing on their behalf.”
“The root word of ‘governor’ is to govern, and what that means is to be the CEO of the biggest business in the state,” Folwell told The Associated Press in an interview. “And based on my track record of saving lives, minds and money, I’m uniquely qualified to do that.”
Folwell’s campaign website doesn’t list his positions on various issues, as some candidates do, but he does establish his foundation as:
- “A conservative who consistently finds conservative and common sense solutions.”
- “A leader who is committed to putting North Carolinians first.”
- “A strong legislative track record.”
- “An ability to clearly demonstrate the intellectual and policy risks that are necessary to fix North Carolina.”
Folwell told The AP at his announcement that he didn’t know Robinson until a few years ago. He said Robinson has “spent all this time attacking people instead of attacking the important problems that our citizens are facing.”
That happened again last week, when Talking Points Memo did a deep dive into Robinson’s long history of posts on social media that attacked people along racial, religious and cultural lines and supported several conspiracy theories. Also last Sunday he spoke at a church outside Raleigh and attacked not only the LGBTQ community – as he often has – but also the churches that embraced its members.
But Democrats also took measure of Folwell for his record related to LBGTQ issues.
“Dale Folwell has used the Treasurer’s office to target LGBTQ state employees for political points and advance his own extreme views – putting job-killing divisiveness ahead of the people of North Carolina,” North Carolina Democratic Party Chair Anderson Clayton said in a statement released by the party on Saturday afternoon. “His announcement today sets up what is sure to be a chaotic Republican primary.”