Attorney General Roy Cooper is ramping up his apparent run for governor in 2016, with a new video and website promising Democrats better days ahead.
The video opens with a selection of the all-too-familiar mocking national news coverage of the GOP-run state legislature, which became common fare last year. Then – cue the soothing background music – a sweater-clad Cooper offers a message of hope.
“To say that the last year has been painful to North Carolinians is a profound understatement,” Cooper says. “… What had taken decades to build is being torn down right before our eyes. And for many of us, it’s personal.”
Cooper, who was a state legislator before becoming attorney general, says he is “building an organization” in the coming weeks and months. His website – takebacknorthcarolina.com – solicits the like-minded to sign up.
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He has all but announced he will run against Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, and is at this stage the leading Democratic challenger.
But the state GOP declared the video and website launch amounts to a formal kick-off of Cooper’s campaign, and has begun the criticism of him for mixing politics with his state job.
Noting the election is two years, nine months and nine days away, Republican Party spokesman Daniel Keylin issued a news release saying Cooper is neglecting his duties and campaiging “on the taxpayers’ dime.”
The GOP has criticized Cooper for taking public stands against the same-sex marriage ban, voter ID and other Republican-passed laws, while having to defend some of those issues in court.