Officially “announced” or not, Attorney General Roy Cooper’s campaign for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2016 is visibly underway.
Cooper addressed 375 Rocky Mount Chamber of Commerce members last week, and on Tuesday he spoke to a like number of Democratic activists in Raleigh. The Associated Press reported Cooper vowed to support teacher pay raises and expanding Medicaid to cover more people.
His remarks were at a fundraiser organized by Lillian’s List, which works to elect female candidates who support abortion rights. Cooper’s appearances rekindled the state Republican Party’s efforts to portray him as a part-time attorney general who is more focused on his campaign than on the job to which he was elected.
“It just shows how out of touch he truly is with North Carolina,” GOP chairman Claude Pope Jr. said in a statement issued Tuesday night. “While the hardworking middle class of North Carolina are sacrificing so much everyday to make ends meet and put food on the table for their families, Cooper would rather be hob-knobbing at expensive luncheons than doing this job.”
Cooper has emphasized in the recent appearances that he will continue to work hard as attorney general for the remainder of his term, which concludes at the end of 2016.
On Wednesday, Pope issued another statement challenging Cooper to take a position on the Obama administration’s plan to open the Southern Atlantic coast for offshore drilling for oil and gas.