Tag: north carolina
Mark Harris

North Carolina Republican Whose 2018 Victory Proved Fraudulent Runs Again

Republican Mark Harris, who has run unsuccessfully for political office and has a documented history of sexist, homophobic, antisemitic, and Islamophobic comments, announced on Tuesday that he will run for an open North Carolina U.S. House seat in 2024.

In a nearly five-minute announcement video, Harris, whose 2018 House race victory was overturned due to evidence of election fraud, baselessly accused Democrats of having “manufactured a scandal to steal the election” from him five years ago and of stealing the 2020 election from President Donald Trump.

“Well, in 2024, President Trump is making a comeback. And so am I,” Harris tells viewers. “I feel called to serve my nation and I’m willing to make the sacrifice needed to do it.”

According to theCharlotte Observer, Harris plans to run in North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District. Incumbent Republican Rep. Dan Bishop is running for state attorney general.

The former president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, Harris, who is the senior pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Mooresville, North Carolina, defeated incumbent U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger in the 2018 Republican primary in the state’s 9th Congressional District, after failed campaigns for U.S. Senate in 2014 and U.S. House in 2016, but his general election victory was overturned.

Initial results had shown Harris narrowly defeating Democratic nominee Dan McCready, but a state investigation found evidence that campaign operative McCrae Dowless had illegally collected vote-by-mail ballots and had altered or destroyed those that were not Harris votes. The state board of elections did not certify the results, and a new special election was ordered. Harris denied any wrongdoing or knowledge of the scheme, though his own son testified before the board of elections that he had warned his father about Dowless and his methods. Harris did not opt to run in the 2019 special election for the seat, citing medical issues.

On his 2024 campaign site, Harris’ campaign is already touting his anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ views:

Mark fervently believes in the sanctity of all human life, from conception to natural end. A pivotal figure in the pro-life movement, he asserts that every life is invaluable. Mark is also a stalwart defender of traditional family values, having led the charge for the 2012 marriage amendment and consistently advocating for measures that uphold the foundations of our families.

He has a long record of opposition to women’s rights and claims, “God instructs all Christian wives to submit to their husband.”

In a 2013 sermon on “God’s plan for biblical womanhood,” first flagged in 2018 by the progressive super PAC American Bridge 21st Century, he argued that a “woman of valor” is created to be “a supporter, a nurturer, a caregiver,” and complained:

You and I know that in our culture today, girls are taught from grade school, that we tell them that what is most honorable in life is a career, and their ultimate goal in life is simply to be able to grow up and be independent of anyone or anything. We tell young girls to not be connected humanly as they are designed to do naturally, but instead disconnected, so as to be able to do anything they want any time they want. But nobody has seemed to ask the question that I think is critically important to ask: Is that a healthy pursuit for society? Is that the healthiest pursuit for our homes? Is that the healthiest pursuit for our children? Is that the healthiest pursuit for the sexes in our generation?

(Disclosure: The American Independent Foundation is a partner organization of American Bridge 21st Century.)

In other sermons, he complained about the legalization of no-fault divorce, falsely said that most people who make the “decision” to be LGBTQ+ do so due to having experienced abuse, and claimed that legal abortion is to blame for mass shootings.

In 2018, CNN KFile reported that he had given sermons calling Islam dangerous and the work of Satan and arguing that Middle East peace required that all Jews and Muslims convert to Christianity. “There will never be peace in Jerusalem until the day comes that every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,” he said in 2011.

As a candidate in 2014 and 2018, Harris called for the elimination of the U.S. Department of Education. He proposed in 2014 that Social Security benefits be reduced for future retirees who were then under the age of 50.

According to the Cook Political Report, North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District is solidly Republican.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Mark Robinson

Top GOP Candidate For North Carolina Governor Calls Beyonce's Music 'Satanic'

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson is the frontrunner in his state’s Republican gubernatorial primary, and oh holy crap is he a conspiracy theorist and a bigot. Robinson isn’t just your run-of-the-mill “9/11 was an inside job” or QAnon-believing conspiracy theorist. He does buy into both of those, along with many others, but he also believes that Beyoncé’s music is “satanic,” Jay-Z is “demonic,” and reality television shows are a precursor to a New World Order in which people are condemned in show trials and executed. That’s a special level of whoa.

Many of Robinson’s ugly views have already gotten widespread attention, like his 2021 comment, “There is no reason anybody anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality—any of that filth. And yes, I called it filth.” But HuffPost’s Jennifer Bendery has done amazing work tracking down more of the conspiracy theories that Robinson embraces alongside and in addition to his bigotry.

It shouldn’t be controversial to call Robinson a conspiracy theorist when he’s said it himself. “Folks will get mad and say, ‘Oh you’re just a conspiracy theorist,’” he said in March. “OK, I’m going to tell you right now, conspiracy theorists are 42-0. We’re undefeated right now, folks.” That’s part of the point of a conspiracy, of course—it can never be defeated in the conspiracy theorist’s mind, because it was never rational to begin with—but 42 really could be an accurate count of the number of conspiracy theories Robinson adheres to right now.

Robinson buys into most of the really big-name conspiracy theories, like the moon landing having been faked. But he goes way past that, Bendery writes:

In lesser-noticed social media posts, Robinson has said that news coverage of police shootings is part of a media conspiracy “designed to push US towards their new world order.” He and his wife both liked a since-deleted Facebook comment that stated, “WWG1WGA are my ‘Identity’ letters,” a reference to the QAnon rallying cry “Where we go one, we go all.” In October 2018, on a day when authorities intercepted pipe bombs intended for President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and CNN, Robinson suggested on Facebook that they had done it to themselves. “If you can’t beat ’em, bomb yourself,” he wrote.

Robinson’s talk of media conspiracies ventures into outright antisemitism often enough that even when it’s not explicit, it’s fair to assume antisemitism is lurking just in the background.

For instance, there are his views about the music industry, which don’t stop at just Beyoncé and Jay-Z. “We sit starry eyed watching these puppets of beelzebub, not realizing the obvious fact that the masters who pull their string HATE us, and want to see us destroyed,” Robinson wrote in 2017. “We run to the theaters to see the films produced by the sons of Satan of Hollywood to further glamorize the street ape mentality that is destroying OUR future.” That reference to “the masters who pull their strings” draws on classic antisemitic tropes even if he didn’t quite spell it out in the moment.

In 2015, he wrote, “I know this may sound paranoid and crazy, but I truly believe that the ‘judgement’ format of these ‘reality’ competition shows ( i.e. American Idol, DWTS, Chopped, etc. ) is sign of things to come in the REALITY of the New World Order.” Asked to elaborate, he added in a comment, “The format of these shows reminds me of the predetermined format of Stalin's ‘Show Trials’. Where people were lined up and judged then executed. Of course no one is being killed but all the elements are still there. Sometimes I think these shows are setting people's mind on this type of format for a more sinister reason.”

If he isn’t elected governor of North Carolina, Robinson should look for career opportunities as a conspiracy theory tester. People wanting to spread a conspiracy theory could come to him and try to persuade him. If they failed, they’d know no one would ever believe it. But the thing is, he could be elected governor of North Carolina. In 2020, he defeated state Rep. Yvonne Lewis Holley 52-48 percent in the general election for lieutenant governor—a bigger margin in the state than Donald Trump’s over President Joe Biden. There’s real reason to fear that the state ranked ninth in population could elect a governor who believes reality television is getting us ready for show trials and mass executions.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Mark Robinson

North Carolina GOP Candidate Smeared Parkland Survivor As 'Actor'

In a now-deleted Facebook comment from 2018, Republican North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson falsely accused David Hogg, a survivor of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, of being a paid actor.

Seventeen people, including many of Hogg’s classmates, were killed by a shooter at the school on February 14, 2018.

Conspiracy theorists often claim that mass shooting victims are actually “crisis actors” and accuse survivors of being involved in orchestrated plots to achieve their political goals.

Robinson, who is running for the GOP nomination for governor of North Carolina, wrote on Feb. 27, 2018, on Facebook:

Let me see if I have this correct. A spoiled, angry, disobedient CHILD shot and killed 17 of his classmates, and now spoiled, angry, know it all CHILDREN are trying to tell law abiding ADULTS that we must give up our Constitutional RIGHT to own certain weapons. Cue Rod Serling because this must be an episode of the Twilight Zone? David Hogg and the rest of these silly little immature “media prosti-tots” need to grab a passy, have seat in time out, and shut up.

According to CNN, Robinson used social media more than once to attack survivors who were calling for legislation to prevent future gun violence, including Hogg, then a 17-year-old, who had witnessed the shootings and become an outspoken advocate for gun safety.

On February 26, 2018, he posted a series of laughing emojis and a photoshopped picture of Hogg with the name “Media Hogg.”

A commenter replied, “An opportunist well trained by his parents.”

Another responded: “Nope. A paid actor who graduated in California several years ago.”

In his now-deleted reply, Robinson answered: “Yep. Hence the name I gave him,” followed by more laughing emojis.

A Robinson spokesperson did not immediately respond to an American Independent Foundation inquiry for this story.

After the CNN story was published, Robinson, who also has a long history of anti-LGBTQ, antisemitic, racist, sexist, and Islamophobic comments, released a statement in which he said: “These coordinated attacks from the elitist politicians like Biden and Stein with activist ‘journalists’ in the media are just the beginning. … They want to destroy me because they don’t think normal people should be elected to the highest office. They think that should be reserved for the elite who sit in ivory towers, judging everyone else while sticking their noses up at the world.” He offered no apology for or retraction of his attacks on the Parkland survivors.

Robinson will face former Rep. Mark Walker and current State Treasurer Dale Folwell in the March 2024 Republican gubernatorial primary in North Carolina. The winner will likely face Democratic state Attorney General Josh Stein.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is term-limited.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Tricia Cotham

North Carolina Republicans Face Backlash Over Abortion Rights Betrayal

When Tricia Cotham ran for the North Carolina House last year to represent Mecklenburg County, she did so as a veteran Democratic lawmaker on a promise to protect abortion rights.

"Now, more than ever we need leaders who will be unwavering and unapologetic in their support of abortion rights," Cotham tweeted on May 3, 2022, the day after the Supreme Court's draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade leaked. Cotham promised to "fight to codify Roe" and pledged in a Planned Parenthood questionnaire to "oppose any legislation that restricts abortion access."

Not only did Cotham ultimately renege on every one of those promises, she also provided House Republicans with the power to make sure Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper couldn't block the GOP's 12-week abortion ban.

After taking office as a Democrat in January, Cotham announced a party switch in April, solidifying a GOP supermajority in the state legislature. By mid-May, Tar Heel Republicans had unveiled their 12-week abortion ban, passed it, and overridden Cooper's veto of it—all in a little over a month since Cotham's switch.

There's a word for the betrayal Cotham committed: Turncoat.

But the question now isn't just whether Democrats can oust Cotham and reclaim representation of her blue-leaning Charlotte district. It's whether Democrats can ride that rage all the way to flipping the state in next year's presidential contest, not to mention hang on to the governor's mansion.

President Joe Biden lost the state in 2020 by a little over a point, positioning it as Democrats' best chance for a flip in 2024.

After Republicans succeeded in jamming Cooper's veto Tuesday, abortion rights activists at the state House gallery erupted in chants of "Shame! Shame!"

Anderson Clayton, chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party, captured some of the sound and tweeted it out with a raw missive.

"after the vote was taken tonight, folks in the gallery were loud," Clayton wrote. "our right to our own bodies was just voted on. and tonight, the people just yelled. we’re tired, that’s for sure, but more than that, we’re angry. we’re motivated. and there’s a movement behind us."

That motivation is fueled by more than Cotham's betrayal and the ban itself. Cotham was one of four state Republican lawmakers who ran on a pledge to protect abortion rights, as Cooper pointed out repeatedly in the runup to the override vote.

"Ted Davis, Michael Lee, John Bradford and Tricia Cotham promised to protect women’s reproductive freedom. There’s still time for them to keep their promises," Cooper tweeted on May 4.

Given their records now, how can voters place any trust in what Republican lawmakers tell them on the issue?

As NARAL Political Director Ryan Stitzlein told Daily Kos last week, no matter what they say on the campaign trail, Republicans will enact abortion bans just as soon as they have the power to do so.

"All four of them during their campaigns said they would not do the thing that they went and did," said Stitzlein, "and as soon as they got the chance, they went back on their word."

In fact, North Carolina Republicans have made it clear they passed the strictest abortion ban they believed possible and will push for more if they gain seats next year in the state legislature and/or take control of the governor's mansion.

“This represents the legislation that I believe this General Assembly can pass,” GOP House Speaker Tim Moore said just after Republicans overrode the veto. “I can’t say what’ll happen two years, four years, 10 years from now.”

Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who's running for governor, pledged earlier this year that he would sign a total abortion ban without any exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother.

Robinson hopes to tighten the rules after the '24 elections, assuming he wins.

Democrats are already seizing on the issue to light a fire under voters. Within less than an hour of the override vote, Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein, who's running to replace Cooper, warned voters of Republican intentions.

“Make no mistake — this is only the beginning,” Stein said. “In 2024, we’re up against politicians like Mark Robinson who want to make abortion illegal for any reason even in cases of rape or incest," Stein added, urging North Carolinians to "choose freedom."

From reproductive rights to book bans, LGTBQ+ rights, and more, freedom is already emerging as a central theme in local and national races. The question now is whether Democrats in North Carolina and other battleground states can make the case to critical swing voters that choosing freedom transcends any other issue Republicans manufacture between now and Election Day.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.