OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 1:56 PM – Thursday, April 6, 2023
State Representative Tricia Cotham from North Carolina announced on Wednesday that she has switched from the Democratic party to the Republican party.
“I have decided to change my party affiliation, joining the Republican Party, and have been welcomed with open arms,” Cotham announced at a news conference at the Republican Party headquarters in Raleigh.
Cotham went on to say that the reasoning behind her switch is that the Democrat party has become “unrecognizable” to her. She also said that the party “wants to villainize” anyone who doesn’t do exactly what they want and will “try to bully” people in order to get what they want.
“The party wants to villainize anyone who has free thought, free judgment, has solutions, who wants to get to work to better our state, not just sit in a meeting and have a workshop after a workshop,” she 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.”
She also explained how the Democrats have been “blasting me on Twitter to calling me names, coming after my family, coming after my children. That is wrong,” and that a woman had cursed her out while she was shopping with her son.
The switch had caused a major shift within the State legislature in favor of the GOP. North Carolina House Minority Leader Robert Reives said that Cotham should have resigned her seat instead of switching parties because she had campaigned on a Democrat agenda, in a heavy Democrat district.
“Now, just a few months later, Rep. Cotham is changing parties. That is not the person that was presented to the voters of House District 112,” Reives said in a statement. “Those constituents deserved to know what values were most important to their elected representative.”
Representative Jeff Jackson (D-N.C.) also decried the switch saying that North Carolina has no recall provision, so Cotham will be able to serve out the remainder of her two-year term which began in January.
“At this point, we can safely say that the decision by this legislator to suddenly switch parties will have major consequences for millions of people,” he wrote.
Progressive groups throughout North Carolina have also expressed their outrage at the news, and have been calling for Cotham’s resignation claiming that she had misrepresented herself to the constituents in her district.
Equality North Carolina, a non-profit organization that is “dedicated to securing rights and protections for the LGBTQ community” released a statement which called on the Republican to resign claiming that she had “betrayed” the values that they hold, which they had previously believed she held as well.
“We are calling on Representative Tricia Cotham to resign from her position because of her repeated failure to represent the people who elected her,” the statement read. “Tricia Cotham sought ENC’s endorsement in 2022 affirming that she held values consistent with our own. Since then, she has betrayed those values, voting against equality by supporting legislation that targets the rights of marginalized communities. Her ‘yes’ votes on anti-protest bill HB 40 and ICE collaboration bill HB 10 have make it clear where she stands.”
On the other hand, North Carolina Republicans have welcomed the newest member of their caucus enthusiastically.
State GOP Chair Michael Whatley released a statement saying that the reason that Democrats are losing their hold is a result of them being “too radical” for the state, and that Mecklenburg County “should be proud” to have her represent them in Raleigh.
“This announcement continues to reflect that the Democratic Party is too radical for North Carolina,” he said. “The values of the Republican Party align with voters, and the people of Mecklenburg County should be proud to have her representation in Raleigh.”
The Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel released a statement in which she welcomed Cotham to the Republican party saying that the policies of the left are “failing Americans.”
“Even in a Biden district in a purple state, Democrats are reading the writing on the wall: liberal policies are too extreme and they’re failing Americans,” the statement read. “Ahead of 2024, Republican momentum is growing.”
The move announced by the new Republican has decidedly given the GOP a veto-proof in the state House in the middle of the legislative session, which has opened up a clear path to enact their agenda in the state despite the opposition they face from Governor Roy Cooper (D-N.C.)
“This is a disappointing decision,” the governor said. “It’s hard to believe she would abandon these long-held principles, and she should still vote the way she has always said she would vote when these issues arise, regardless of party affiliation.”
Cooper has blocked GOP bills and proposals 75 times since 2017 utilizing his veto powers. The move by Cotham has now given the GOP 72 seats in the House, which essentially stripped the governor of both of the state chambers, and ultimately gave the GOP a big enough majority in the state to be able to override any veto he might issue.
During the news conference Cotham expressed that even though her party affiliation is changing, she is “still the same person.”
“I am still the same person,” she said. “And I am going to do what I believe is right and follow my conscience.”
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