The Democrat planned a "special announcement" Monday evening at Nash Community College in Rocky Mount, not far from where he grew up in Nashville. He represented the area in the legislature until 2000, when he was first elected the state's top law enforcement official.
The 58-year-old Cooper has been talking about planning for a bid for governor since 2013 and has been critical of policies pushed by the Republican-led General Assembly and GOP Gov. Pat McCrory, who is seeking re-election.
While Cooper's candidacy has seemed like a foregone conclusion, Republicans have been accusing him of failing to do his current job.
North Carolina Republican Party Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse planned to counter Cooper's announcement with remarks of his own outside the Nash Community College Monday afternoon.
Ken Spaulding of Durham already has announced he's seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. The primary would be March 15.
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