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In a stunning move that shocked many North Carolinians, state Rep. Tricia Cotham announced on Wednesday that she is switching her party affiliation from Democrat to Republican, giving the GOP a supermajority in the state House and the power to override vetoes from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

Cotham, who represents House District 112 in the eastern suburbs of Charlotte, said she decided to join the Republican Party because she felt alienated and controlled by the Democratic Party, which has become too radical and out of touch with the people of North Carolina.

“I have decided to change my party affiliation, joining the Republican Party, and have been welcomed with open arms by my colleagues,” Cotham said at a news conference at the North Carolina GOP headquarters in Raleigh. “The modern-day Democratic Party has become unrecognizable to me.”

Cotham cited several examples of how the Democratic Party has failed to represent her values and interests, such as imposing restrictions on her voting freedom, supporting abortion rights, opposing school choice, undermining public safety, and pushing for higher taxes and more government spending.

“It became very clear to me early on in January that you better vote in line with everything Governor Cooper tells you to do,” Cotham said. “From signing on to bills, to he wanted to pick your seat on the House floor, to your committee requests … I will not be controlled by anyone.”

Cotham’s switch is a major victory for Republicans, who now have 72 seats in the state House – the number needed to override Cooper’s vetoes on important legislation such as redistricting, election integrity, health care reform, and economic recovery. Republicans already had a supermajority in the state Senate, where they hold 28 seats.

State House Speaker Tim Moore praised Cotham for her courage and integrity, and welcomed her to the Republican Party.

“Rep. Cotham is a principled leader who has always put her constituents first,” Moore said. “She has seen firsthand how the Democratic Party has abandoned common sense and embraced a radical agenda that is out of step with North Carolina values. We are honored to have her join our team and work with us to advance conservative policies that will benefit all North Carolinians.”

Cotham’s switch is also a blow for Cooper, who has been at odds with the Republican-controlled legislature since he took office in 2017. Cooper has vetoed more than 60 bills passed by the legislature, most of which were overridden by Republican votes. With Cotham’s switch, Cooper will lose his last line of defense against the Republican agenda.

North Carolina Democratic Party Chairwoman Anderson Clayton called on Cotham to resign, saying she betrayed her voters who elected her as a Democrat by a wide margin in 2020.

“Rep. Tricia Cotham campaigned as a Democrat and supporter of abortion rights, health care, public education, gun safety, and civil rights,” Clayton said in a statement. “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 … and who they championed in a general election in a 60% Democratic district.”

Cotham dismissed Clayton’s demand as “ridiculous” and said she has no intention of resigning or running for re-election as a Republican. She said she will serve out her term until 2024 and then retire from politics.

“I am not doing this for political gain or personal benefit,” Cotham said. “I am doing this because I believe it is the right thing to do for myself and for my constituents. I am proud to be a Republican and I look forward to working with my new colleagues to make North Carolina a better place for everyone.”

Daniel

Daniel is a conservative syndicated opinion writer and amateur theologian. He writes about topics of politics, culture, freedom, and faith.

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