Dan Forest has been laying the groundwork for a gubernatorial campaign for months — and now it’s official.

In a video posted to Facebook, the lieutenant governor announced that he’s forming an exploratory committee for the governorship of North Carolina. Like with presidential campaigns, this step is essentially a formal entry into the race.

And in that video, Forest previewed what some of his campaign themes are likely to be.

Forest speaks of restoring hope and valuing the “intrinsic value and worth” of each individual. He contrasts that with people — and by insinuation, a Democratic Party — that “sees us as groups rather than individuals.”

This campaign message appears to seek to tie the relatively centrist incumbent Gov. Roy Cooper to a national Democratic Party that doesn’t resonate nearly as much with North Carolina’s more moderate electorate.

It’s a tactic that’s been effective in U.S. House races across North Carolina, where Democrats running for congress tend to be closer to the center than party leadership.

Forest also enters the race as the clear front-runner in a Republican primary for governor, despite low name recognition. Expect Forest to spend the early part of the campaign introducing himself to voters with positive messages like this one.

Cover image via the Dan Forest video on Facebook.

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