CHARLOTTE — Two North Carolina Republicans are making decisions that could shake up the balance of power in the state.
Rep. Tricia Cotham announced a surprise switch in party that gives Republicans a veto-proof majority and Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson is on the verge of launching his campaign for governor.
The moves are bringing national attention to North Carolina’s political scene.
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The Political Beat’s Joe Bruno spoke with Bryan Anderson, a journalist covering politics in Raleigh, about the big news.
A gubernatorial bid from Robinson in 2024 has long been expected. The outspoken conservative has widespread support in the Republican Party and is viewed as a frontrunner in the race.
“The lieutenant governor doesn’t have many defined responsibilities, but (Robinson) has certainly used the megaphone of his office to sway Republicans and win over people who may have opposed him,” Anderson said.
Robinson has made waves in the past with controversial comments opposing gay marriage and abortion.
“Definitely going to be a concern in the general election if you’re a Republican,” Anderson said. “There are many people I talk to who privately worry that he may not be as electable in a general election as say (current state treasurer) Dale Folwell, who has already announced his campign.”
Cotham’s unexpected move to the Republican Party rocked the state’s political word.
“This party switch does have an impact, but Cotham is still seen as a swayable person, particularly on the issues of voter’s access and abortion,” Anderson said. “It’ll be interesting to see whether the messages that she said on the campaign trail in 2022 hold up today.
The move does raise questions for Cotham’s political future after being elected in district that leans heavily toward Democrats.
“She is in Mecklenburg County, it would be a little bit hard drawing her a red district there,” Anderson said. “She certainly has a political future, but where it is remains to be seen.”
>>> WATCH the full Political Beat interview with Bryan Anderson in the video above.
(WATCH BELOW: ‘I’m proud of her’: Meck County Commissioner Pat Cotham reacts to daughter’s party switch)
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