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[News and Observer] Democratic primary already heating up for 2020 lieutenant governor race

The 2020 elections are nearly two years away. But riding the “Blue Wave” momentum of the 2018 midterm elections, two Democrats have already announced plans to run for North Carolina’s second highest state office, lieutenant governor.

Terry Van Duyn, a state senator from Asheville, announced her planned candidacy Monday morning. She’s at least the second Democrat planning to run. The Associated Press reported in late November that Cal Cunningham, who was a state senator from Lexington in the early 2000s, is planning to run as well.

Cunningham is an attorney and Van Duyn is a retired systems analyst. Unlike the president and vice president, North Carolina’s governor and lieutenant governor don’t run as a single ticket. Currently the offices are split politically, with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest.

Forest, who has been in that office since 2012, can’t run for a third term. He is widely expected to run against Cooper for the governor’s office in 2020, and regardless of what he does, the race for lieutenant governor will be wide open with no incumbent running.

Although Cunningham and Van Duyn have said they plan to run, there’s still a long time for either of them to drop out of the race or for other challengers to file. The official candidate filing period is still more than a year from now.

On the Republican side, the Mount Airy News reported earlier this year that former Mount Airy Mayor Deborah Cochran plans to run as a Republican for lieutenant governor.

Originally Published in the News and Observer