CHARLOTTE — A day removed from Mecklenburg County Rep. Tricia Cotham’s decisions to switch her political affiliation and emotions remain high.
Channel 9 reported Tuesday that Cotham decided to join the Republican Party, just months after she was elected by voters as a member of the Democratic Party. Her defection means conservatives now have a supermajority and can pass whatever legislation they want without fear of Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto.
Many of her former allies are calling on Cotham to resign. Leadership from both the Mecklenburg County Democratic Party and the Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County said they feel betrayed.
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Despite the outcry against Cotham, one person who isn’t wavering in their support is her mother -- Mecklenburg County Commissioner Pat Cotham. A decades-long Democrat, Pat says anyone questioning her support Tricia doesn’t know her very well.
“She’s my daughter and I love her and I’m proud of her,” Pat said.
That hasn’t stopped fierce attacks leveled against Pat by critics on social media, via email and in person.
“The colleagues who approached me yesterday, they haven’t been happy with me the whole time, and tomorrow, they won’t be happy no matter what I do,” Pat said. “I have a pretty thick skin, I’ve been around, this is not my first rodeo. I’ve been in politics a long time, so I know this is part of it. People are very emotional now.”
Pat told Channel 9 she only learned of her daughter’s decision when it made headlines on Tuesday. But Pat also said she knew Tricia would face an uphill battle in Raleigh after her election.
“When I was personally there (in Raleigh), (I saw) how she was treated, and I asked her about it, and she told me that she did not feel welcome in the Democratic Party,” Pat said. “She was isolated when I was up there.”
Amid the calls to resign, Pat believes her daughter will still represent the wishes of the majority liberal voters she serves.
“There’s always people who disagree with things, but I would say, she’ll show you that she is still supporting you,” Pat said. “I would say that she is committed to serving her constituents and serving the people of the state of North Carolina, and she will make all of her efforts for that.”
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