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Forest won't answer questions for voters guide, says they 'don't reflect reality'

Posted September 28, 2020 4:21 p.m. EDT
Updated September 28, 2020 4:29 p.m. EDT

— Lt. Gov. Dan Forest refused this week to answer questions for a routine WRAL News online voters guide, with his gubernatorial campaign saying the questions "don't reflect reality."

Among the questions: "If elected, what are your top 3 priorities?"

Other questions dealt with the state's coronavirus response, school funding, Medicaid expansion and systemic racism.

WRAL publishes a voters guide most election seasons, and the question-and-answer portion of this year's guide is set to go live Thursday. Forest's campaign got the same questions as Gov. Roy Cooper's, and those questions also went out to candidates for lieutenant governor and to candidates in General Assembly races.

Similar questions went out to candidates in other Council of State races. Forest's campaign was the only one to complain about the questions.

"These questions are written specifically for the Cooper campaign and don't reflect reality," Forest spokesman Andrew Dunn said in an email. "They’re not the issues the people of North Carolina really care about."

Dunn then listed "the real questions that should be asked," which the Forest campaign also did not answer. Dunn did not return a follow-up call seeking additional comment.

Forest has frequently complained about WRAL coverage, and he declined an invitation this election cycle to participate with Cooper in a WRAL debate. The two will face off Oct. 14, though, in a debate organized by the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters. That debate will air on WRAL and be streamed live on WRAL.com.

The voters guide questions Forest's campaign objected to are:

  • If elected, what are your top 3 priorities?
  • Should all pandemic-related restrictions in North Carolina be lifted before a coronavirus vaccine is widely available? What would be the tipping point to scale them back or rescind them?
  • How would you handle the economic issues caused by the pandemic?
  • The pandemic has resulted in added expenses for public schools. Do you support a significant increase in K-12 spending to help districts, and if so, how would you pay for it?
  • Do you support expanding Medicaid to provide more North Carolinians with health coverage during the pandemic? If not, how do you propose caring for these people?
  • Do you believe there’s systemic racism in North Carolina? If so, what reforms are needed?
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