The rumor that Mark Johnson might be preparing a campaign to run for Lt. Governor of North Carolina is not really that new. But since it has been asked officially on a filmed interview (to be aired tonight), it does need some sort of mention because the irony of any possibility that this might be happening would be not only palpable, but extremely thick.
If Johnson does run for Lt. Gov., he will undoubtedly be campaigning for at least several months before the 2020 election while he is still in his first term as the state superintendent.
Considering that a large portion of that term was being embroiled in a lawsuit over a power grab meant to enable Johnson to carry out the General Assembly’s wishes without checks and balances, a run for Lt. Governor would be incredibly consistent with Johnson’s political career: trying to rapidly advance in office without establishing himself as capable in order to be a puppet of a higher power that enables him.
Johnson, 34, did not complete even half of a term as a school board member in the Winston-Salem / Forsyth County schools and was campaigning for the state super job during that time.
The current Lt. Gov., Dan Forrest, already has indicated he will run for governor in 2020. That’s no secret. And to think that Johnson would not be a rubber stamp for a someone like Forrest (if elected) is unrealistic; Johnson has shown himself as not being the leader he wants to project himself as. He has not been transparent (iPad / Apple) or shown himself as knowledgeable like when he wanted to eliminate board mandated tests when the SBOE does even mandate tests.
Yet, the most stark irony in this idea is that the Lt. Gov. sits on the State Board of Education. If elected as Lt. Gov., Johnson would become a member of the very entity that he spent most of his term as State Superintendent trying to undercut.
It’s almost inviting enough to entertain the imaginary conversations that would take place if Johnson as Lt. Gov. would have to explain why as the State Superintendent he used taxpayer money in a lawsuit that he now claims gives him control over DPI himself.
But he would probably avoid the question or say that he has “moved on.”
From the Charlotte Observer on Sept. 6th,
Johnson defended the iPad purchases, saying he had the authority to make them. He also repeatedly said that the board’s complaints were not good for the staff at DPI or for the state’s public schools.
“Let’s stop the back and forth at board meetings, please,” Johnson said Wednesday. “Let’s move on. The department has moved on. I’ve moved on” (https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/article217890560.html).
Maybe the above statements by Johnson indicate that he has moved on to prepare for a run at the Lt. Gov. position, but if an incomplete term as a school board member and a complicit and ineffective tenure as the state superintendent are any indication, then a possible Johnson term at Lt. Gov. would definitely not prove beneficial to North Carolinians.
And by the way, Dan Forrest is no advocate for public schools.