RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — State Treasurer Dale Folwell confirmed Friday that he is strongly considering a run for North Carolina governor in 2024. That could put the veteran elected leader in a Republican primary with Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, whose political profile has grown widely since his 2020 victory while a first-time candidate.
Folwell told The Associated Press that he is mulling a gubernatorial bid, but that he won’t make any decision until after the November elections. He said several Republicans have encouraged him to run, according to WRAL-TV, which first reported his potential bid.
“I’m receiving a lot of calls of people who know my track record, know my results and the way that I approach attacking problems and not attacking people,” Folwell told the station in a recent interview. “At the end of the day, if you’re going to be the CEO of the largest business in the state — which is the state — it’s results that’s going to matter, not rage.”
Folwell is a former local school board member and state legislator who was elected treasurer for the first time in 2016. One of his chief responsibilities is overseeing the state’s massive government employee pension funds. He was reelected in 2020 and has been emphasizing recently efforts to curb health care costs for state employees and retirees and the broader population.
“My reputation has always been built on not being outworked, raising my hands to volunteer for the tough jobs,” he told the AP in an interview.
Robinson has become a favorite of social conservatives aligned with the state GOP for his no-nonsense approach to cultural and education issues. He makes frequent appearances before party groups and churches.
Robinson said last year he was fairly certain he would run for governor, and he has written an autobiography that's being released for sale later this month.
Robinson has faced criticism for many of his comments, in particular for some about sex education in schools that critics say disparaged LGBTQ people. Robinson said his words focused on reading materials found in some public schools, not people, and didn't apologize.
Folwell believes his own manner and credentials would be attractive to gubernatorial voters.
“People are just sick and tired of being angry,” Folwell told WRAL-TV. “People are sick and tired of having people at each other’s throats. What people really want is someone who speaks to them like an adult and what they say makes common sense.”
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is barred by term limits from seeking a third term in 2024. Attorney General Josh Stein is a likely candidate for the Democratic nomination. The attorney general and treasurer positions have no term limits.