RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest has taken another - but not surprising - step toward running for governor in 2020.

Forest unveiled a brief video Monday announcing that he has formed an "exploratory" committee to seek the GOP nomination.

There's been little doubt since Forest was elected in 2012 that he would run. Every lieutenant governor in North Carolina of the last 50 years has tried to move up the ladder. Forest already has been raising campaign funds, but now he's making clear that money would go for a potential governor's run.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to seek re-election. So far Cooper has outraised Forest. Campaign finance reports due last week show Cooper's committee has nearly $1.8 million in the bank compared to $588,000 for Forest.