North Carolina’s Gritty Gubernatorial Campaign

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson speaks during a Save America rally for former President Donald Trump in 2022. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

Dale Folwell wants to become the CEO of the largest business in the state of North Carolina. At least that’s how he describes his campaign for governor.

A Quaker and accountant first elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives in 2004 and now in his second term as state treasurer, Folwell received more statewide votes in 2020 than Donald Trump, Sen. Thom Tillis, and state Attorney General Josh Stein, now the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor. 

But he’ll face stiff primary competition from Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, a culture warrior and Donald Trump ally with a history of bankruptcies, tax troubles, and controversial comments.

Robinson formally announced his campaign on Saturday at a rally at Ace Speedway in Alamance County—a nod to his Greensboro roots and a throwback to the anti-lockdown politics of yesteryear (Gov. Roy Cooper ordered the speedway closed during pandemic lockdowns in 2020 after large events there). Virtually unknown until his viral comments about gun rights at a Greensboro City Council meeting propelled him to Fox News fame and a successful 2020 run for lieutenant governor, Robinson is beloved by the Trump base. He has a commanding lead in early primary polling, endorsements from prominent republicans such as Sen. Ted Budd and Rep. Dan Bishop, and a robust small-dollar fundraising operation.

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