Lt. Gov. Dan Forest has announced the creation of an exploratory committee for the governorship, a first step in formally running for office.

On Monday, Jan. 28, Forest posted a video on social media announcing his plans to run for governor in 2020. The video highlights themes of unity and of valuing the individual — rather than pitting groups against one another.

An exploratory committee is a common tactic used to determine whether a potential candidate should run for office by testing the waters with political polls.

Forest, a Republican, was elected lieutenant governor in 2012. His campaigns have featured visits to all 100 North Carolina counties and a strong grass-roots organization.

Much of his time in office has been focused on education and school choice. As lieutenant governor, Forest also sits on the State Board of Education; he chairs the Special Committee on Digital Technology.

During National School Choice Week last week Forest attended a school choice rally in Raleigh, where he spoke about how there is great division among the education world. He told attendees school choice is about children and not about institutions.

Forest is the only Republican so far who has formally announced a 2020 challenge to current Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. Former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who lost to Cooper in 2016, has indicated an interest in entering the race. But McCrory hasn’t formally announced a bid to run again.