North Carolina gubernatorial nominee Dan Forest backed voter suppression laws to make it harder for Black Americans to vote.
The North Carolina Republican gubernatorial nominee's campaign wants supporters to know he can win. Among their reasons: Black voter participation appears to be down.
In an email sent to supporters this week — first flagged by the progressive research group American Bridge 21st Century — the campaign manager for Dan Forest claimed that "Republicans statewide are surging."
After noting that slightly more Republicans had voted in the previous day of early voting than Democrats, he happily added that the percentage of voters who are Black is slightly lower than four years ago.
"Another interesting fact is that the traditional Democrat [sic] friendly African American vote as a percentage of the voting electorate is down 3 to 4% when compared to 2016," he wrote, "and again you start to see real warning signs for the Democrat efforts."
"With that in mind, I like what I am seeing," he concluded.
The Forest campaign did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.
Dan Forest, the state's current lieutenant governor, is challenging Democratic incumbent Gov. Roy Cooper in next month's election.
In recent months, he has repeatedly aligned himself with racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and Islamophobia.
Last June, Forest delivered a sermon denouncing the nation's diversity.
"[N]o other nation, my friends, has ever survived the diversity and multiculturalism that America faces today, because of a lack of assimilation, because of this division, and because of this identity politics," he claimed. "But no other nation has ever been founded on the principles of Jesus Christ, that begin the redemption and reconciliation through the atoning blood of our savior." The Southern Poverty Law Center has attributed that kind of rhetoric to white nationalist hate groups.
In January, he railed against the North Carolina NAACP and others who had blocked a strict voter ID law that would have made it harder for minorities to vote. In a radio interview, he suggested that the law's critics were the real racists.
"To suggest that people that are minorities don't know how to get an ID and don't know how to use one — I think that's far more racist than saying that this type of bill is racist," Forest claimed, ignoring evidence that such laws disproportionately impact minority voters, including many Black Americans who do not have access to a birth certificate because they were never issued one.
Forest falsely claimed last November that "tens of thousands" of North Carolina children have been victims of violent crime at the hands of undocumented immigrants. In the same remarks, he complained that journalists were no longer using terms like "illegal" and "aliens" to describe undocumented people and no longer painting them as rapists and murderers.
Forest also headlined an October 2019 event with anti-Muslim extremists and touted February 2020 endorsements from anti-LGBTQ groups, including the political arm of Tony Perkins' Family Research Council. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the Family Research Council a hate group, based on its many "false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science."
Polling has shown Forest to be way behind Cooper, trailing the Democratic incumbent by an average of 17 points.
His unpopularity is especially noteworthy when compared with Donald Trump and North Carolina's Republican Sen. Thom Tillis — both who are also running statewide and are trailing their Democratic opponents by an average of 2.3 points.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.