Gov. Roy Cooper offered his official endorsement Wednesday morning to fellow Democrat Josh Stein in North Carolina’s 2024 governor’s race. Stein succeeded Cooper in 2017 as the state’s attorney general.

“Twenty-two years ago, when I was North Carolina’s attorney general, I chose a strong, smart leader named Josh Stein to head up our consumer protection team,” said Cooper in a video message posted to social media. “Josh went from there to the state Senate, and eventually to his own two terms as attorney general.”

“And every day of those 22 years, he’s fought alongside me to get results for our state,” Cooper added. “Now he’s running in the 2024 elections for a new job. And today I’m excited to endorse Josh Stein to be the next governor of North Carolina.”

Term limits prevent Cooper from running for a third consecutive term. “But I know he will double down on the progress that we’ve made,” Cooper said of Stein.

“Thank you, @RoyCooperNC!” Stein responded on social media. “I’ve always been honored to work side by side with you for a safer and stronger North Carolina—and I’m immensely grateful to have your support in this race. Let’s win!”

Cooper issued his endorsement days before state Supreme Court Justice Michael Morgan plans to step down from his post with roughly 16 months left in his term. Morgan has discussed the possibility of running for the Democratic nomination for governor. Cooper will appoint a replacement to fill out Morgan’s Supreme Court term.

The governor’s endorsement arrived days after the John Locke Foundation’s latest Civitas Poll offered information about both Cooper and Stein.

For the first time this year, Cooper’s job approval has dipped below his disapproval, according to the poll of 600 likely general election voters conducted on Aug. 20-21. About 41% of the state’s likely voters approved of the governor’s job performance, while 45% registered disapproval. (In the previous Civitas Poll, conducted, in June, Cooper registered 47% approval versus 39% disapproval.)

Meanwhile, this month’s Civitas Poll showed that 20% of likely general election voters hold a favorable opinion of Stein, versus 12% who hold an unfavorable view of the attorney general. Some 48% of those polled indicated they hadn’t heard of Stein.