GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — North Carolina’s top Republican has — finally — made his run for North Carolina Governor official.

Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, a Greensboro native who attended Grimsley High School and UNCG, announced his intent to run in 2024 at a previously announced rally at Ace Speedway in Alamance County on Saturday, April 22.

During a speech at CPAC in early March, he called his intent to run for governor “the worst kept secret” in North Carolina but had not yet made it official.

“It won’t be long before you get to meet North Carolina’s next governor,” said Rep. Charlie Miller during the introduction before Robinson’s speech.

That was not the only statement of support from Republican lawmakers in NC.

“Mark Robinson won’t serve as a dictator and a king,” said Sen. Danny Britt.

The crowd in attendance booed as Britt mentioned that Governor Roy Cooper vetoed anti-abortion legislation.

A recorded message from Congressman Dan Bishop also preceded Robinson’s appearance.

“I endorse his candidacy with everything I got,” said Bishop.

“I’m running for governor because we deserve to be represented by someone has actually lived like us,” Robinson said in a prerecorded ad.

Robinson began his speech by citing his faith and thanking his supporters before announcing his campaign.

“Today we make it official, I am running for Governor of North Carolina,” Robinson expressed to the crowd.

How’s the race stacking up so far?

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein (AP photo)

Current Attorney General Josh Stein has announced his intent to run for governor on the Democratic ticket. North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell has also announced his intent to run, as well as Libertarian Mike Ross. Former Senator Mark Walker has indicated that he may run, as well.

While there are several people who could compete for the slot in the 2024 election, polls have primarily favored a matchup between Robinson and Stein.

State Representative Rachel Hunt is among a few candidates that have announced their intention to run for the lieutenant governor’s spot that Robinson will vacate.

Robinson’s background

Robinson has served as lieutenant governor since he was elected to the office in 2020. His election came on the heels of an appearance at a Greensboro City Council meeting that went viral for his impassioned speech about gun rights in 2018, which was eventually turned into an NRA ad.

SELMA, NC - APRIL 09: Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson speaks before a rally for former U.S. President Donald Trump at The Farm at 95 on April 9, 2022 in Selma, North Carolina. The rally comes about five weeks before North Carolinas primary elections where Trump has thrown his support behind candidates in some key Republican races. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
SELMA, NC – APRIL 09: Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson speaks before a rally for former U.S. President Donald Trump. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

Robinson now serves as a board member for the NRA and has made comments about owning an AR-15 that Governor Roy Cooper said called for the overthrow of the government.

During his time as lieutenant governor, he started the FACTS Taskforce, dedicated to “exposing indoctrination in the classroom” and giving parents a way to submit instructional material or library books found in North Carolina schools that parents or community members find objectionable. This venture has inspired local parents to form groups to accomplish similar goals within their own school districts.

The possibility of his run for governor drew a scathing critique published as an opinion in the New York Times, calling him “extremism incarnate.” He has faced criticism for homophobic and anti-transgender comments, including during a podcast appearance in February 2023, as well as accusations that he has perpetuated conspiracy theories about the attack on Paul Pelosi and Michelle Obama’s gender. A Talking Points Memo piece recently examined years of social media activity painting a history of conspiratorial posts and attacks on other people, according to the piece.

He has been open about his anti-abortion views at various speaking engagements, recently calling North Carolina a “destination state for death” on a radio appearance where he side-stepped announcing his run for governor.