North Carolina Democrats rip state lawmaker for going Republican and creating a GOP supermajority
Although North Carolina isn't as Democrat-friendly as Virginia has become, it isn't a deep red state like its neighbor South Carolina. North Carolina has two Republican U.S. senators (Ted Budd and Thom Tillis), but it also has a two-term Democratic governor, Roy Cooper.
Nonetheless, Democratic strategists are disappointed that they haven't made as much progress in North Carolina as they have in Virginia. And North Carolina Democrats have another reason to feel disappointed now that State Rep. Tricia Cotham has switched from Democrat to Republican.
According to Vice reporter Paul Blest, Cotham's defection to the GOP gives North Carolina Republicans "the ability to pursue their agenda with a veto-proof majority over Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper."
"Rep. Tricia Cotham's decision sparked fears that Republicans would use their new power to pursue legislation such as an abortion ban, in a state that’s become an unlikely outpost for abortion access since Roe v. Wade was overturned last year," Blest explains in an article published on April 5."
In a statement on April 4, Cotham railed against members of her former party and said, "If you don't do exactly what the Democrats want you to do, they will try to bully you. They will try to cast you aside."
Cotham isn't the only former Democrat to formally announce her defection from the party in recent months. In 2022, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii were quite vocal about their decisions to leave the Democratic Party. But unlike Cotham, Sinema and Gabbard became independents rather than opting to join the GOP.
Robert T. Reives, Democratic minority leader in the North Carolina House of Representatives, is vehemently critical of Cotham's decision and argues that she has betrayed the people who voted for her in 2022.
In an official statement, Reives said of Cotham, "That is not the person that was presented to the voters of House District 112. That is not the person those constituents campaigned for in a hard primary, and who they championed in a general election in a 60 percent Democratic district."
A former Cotham campaign adviser, interviewed on condition of anonymity, was equally critical of Cotham.
That North Carolina Democrat told Vice, "She was upset that Democrats didn't roll out a red carpet for her when she came back to the legislature after being a lobbyist for right-wing interests during the most consequential six years in American politics. Then, she was triggered by some tweets after she voted for a few bills that would directly harm her overwhelmingly Black and brown constituents. That's absurdly all there is to it…. There was no strategy behind it."
Democratic North Carolina State Rep. Cecil Brockman, however, has been defending Cotham.
Brockman told the News and Observer, "I think she just wanted to do what's best for her district, and when you're constantly talked about and trashed — especially the way that we have been over the past few weeks — I think this is what happens."
Read Vice's full report at this link.
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