News: Quick Takes

Forest picked to help lead GOP lieutenant governors’ group

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest championed House Bill 527, a campus free-speech law that shares features with the Hatch free-speech act. (CJ file photo)
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest championed House Bill 527, a campus free-speech law that shares features with the Hatch free-speech act. (CJ file photo)

Fresh off a successful re-election race at home, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest has won another election on a national platform. He was chosen by his GOP peers as 2017 vice chairman of the Republican Lieutenant Governors Association.

Results of the RLGA leadership team elections based on votes by membership were announced this morning. Nevada Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison succeeds 2016 Chairman Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch of Wisconsin. Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera was elected co-chair for policy, and Indiana Lt. Gov.-Elect Suzanne Crouch won the vote for co-chair for finance.

“Over the past 12 months, the RLGA has maintained its reputation as the RSLC’s fastest growing caucus by breaking previous fundraising records, leading the RSLC’s [Republican State Leadership Committee] first international delegation to Israel, and electing new Republican lieutenant governors in Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota,” Kleefisch said.

The RSLC spent $850,000 this year on efforts to re-elect Forest. He picked up 51.81 percent of the ballots cast, defeating Democrat Linda Coleman 2,393,514 votes to 2,093,375. Libertarian Jacki Cole received 132,645 votes. Forest also beat Coleman in their 2012 contest, but by just 6,858 votes.

“The RLGA played an important role in my own re-election campaign this year with their largest investment in a race to date, and I look forward to building on all of our victories in 2016 as we strive to elect more Republican lieutenant governors next year from coast to coast,” Forest said.

On the night of Forest’s re-election, the first time ever that a Republican lieutenant governor has been re-elected in the state, RSLC President Matt Walter issued a statement on behalf of the organization extolling the North Carolina politician’s efforts.

“The Tar Heel State has no better public servant than our friend Dan Forest. We are thrilled that North Carolinians recognized his efforts to improve the state’s education system, to lower taxes, and to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and have entrusted him with four more years as the state’s second-in-command as a result,” Walter said.

Republicans currently hold 31 out of 45 lieutenant governor seats.

“Since its founding, the RLGA has done an incredible job of helping the Republican Party expand its dominance in the states,” Hutchison said. “I look forward to working alongside Lt. Govs. Forest, Lopez-Cantera, and Crouch as we continue to grow our caucus, win elections and advance conservatism in the states.”

The RLGA provides lieutenant governors and candidates with financial support and assists in message development. Lieutenant governors, more than any other statewide office holders, have ascended to become governors. Lieutenant governors also have moved on to serve in the U.S. House and Senate.

The RSLC is the largest caucus of Republican state leaders in the country, and the only national organization whose mission is to elect Republicans to multiple down-ballot, state-level offices. Since 2002, the RSLC has been working to elect candidates to the offices of lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state legislator, the judiciary and other down-ticket races.