By JD Walker
Dan Forest, Republican candidate for the office of North Carolina lieutenant governor, made a stop in Asheboro Tuesday to make a pitch to be the GOP's candidate for the office in the upcoming Nov. 6 general election.
The field is crowded. On the Republican side, Forest is campaigning against Dale Folwell of Winston-Salem, Tony Gurley of Raleigh, Arthur Rich of Garland and Grey Mills of Mooresville. The winner of that race will face off against either Eric Mansfield of Fayetteville or Linda Coleman of Knightdale on the Democratic side.
Forest and his entire family staged their visit in the parking lot of Uptown Charlie's at 1216 E. Dixie Drive.
The crowd was sparse in the time leading up to the noon lunch. Jim Rains, Randolph County planning board member, was on hand to assure Forest of his support.
"I think he (Forest) can design a plan for our future," Rains said, quipping off the fact that both Forest and Rains are architects.
Forest said this is part of a month-long campaign tour to hit as many counties as possible. He said he averages three stops each day with an average of 50 citizens visiting with him at each stop.
"I wanted to do a grassroots campaign," he said. "If it can still be done in this day and age, we're going to do it."
Forest said, for the most part, people tell him they are just glad he took the time to make a showing. People are tired of seeing talking heads on television or trying to learn about candidates on the Internet, he said.
Forest hit all of the hot buttons for conservative voters. Government is too big, he said. Taxes are too high. More has to be done to bring jobs to North Carolina. The state still lags too far behind the rest of the country in education, he said.
For all of his fervor, some may question how much he can accomplish as lieutenant governor. The position in North Carolina government has little power. Forest acknowledges as much.
"I see the lieutenant governor's job as that of an influencer," he said. "I will be a loud spokesman for the people of North Carolina with the governor's office and the legislators."
Forest is a former senior partner with Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, having served as president of the firm's Durham office. He and his wife, Alice, have four children and live in Raleigh. According to recent statewide polling, he is leading in the race for lieutenant governor, polling in double digits in four of six regions around the state. He is the son of U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick.
Forest spent Monday in Greensboro and Southern Pines. He plans to campaign today (Wednesday) in Pittsboro, Salisbury and Cornelius. Forest said he expects to continue his bus tour right up to election day on May 8.