Gov. Roy Cooper and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest face off in first and only debate

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RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — Incumbent democratic Governor Roy Cooper and challenger republican Dan Forest squared off Wednesday evening in their only debate.

Much of the debate focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, Cooper’s handling of it, and what Forest would do differently if he were to be elected. Cooper’s mask mandate was one item that came up frequently.

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“When I mandated masks our cases leveled off, but then Dan Forest lied to the public and said masks don’t work,” Cooper said.

“Mask is a great cover for what he really doesn’t want to talk about, the over 1.5 million people that he has left unemployed, the thousands of businesses that have been shut down, the thousands of businesses that will never reopen again,” Forest replied.

Cooper said the pandemic needs to be under control before the economy can fully recover, but Forest believes Cooper’s restrictions are what is hurting the economy.

“When you’re out there pretending that there is no pandemic, that’s going to hurt the number of jobs that we have,” Cooper said.

“We would focus on protecting the most vulnerable,” Forest responded. We should allow healthy people to get back about life, back about work, back to school, our kids have missed almost an entire year of school for no reason.”

Cooper believes shutting down the state and the phased reopening have saved lives, while Forest believes decisions should be left up to individuals.

“We don’t need a governor that treats us like five-year-olds, we need a governor that does protect us, but not treat us like we’re little kids,” Forest said. “Masks aren’t the solution to everything and in fact, Dr. Fauci said masks don’t work, the Surgeon General of the United States said masks don’t work, the CDC said masks don’t work.”

“Really Dan? Really? Masks don’t work? Scientists say they don’t?” Cooper asked.
That is just absolutely not true, you’re finding that on the dark corners of the internet.”

There were many other subjects discussed as well. You can view the full debate here, courtesy of our affiliate station WFMY.