NC Lawmaker Announces Blockbuster Switch to GOP: Dems 'Villainize Anyone Who Has Free Thought'

Tricia Cotham
April 5, 2023

The unexpected announcement from a longtime North Carolina Democrat that she is switching to the Republican Party gave the GOP a veto-proof majority in both chambers of the state legislature, a blow to the Democratic governor.

Tricia Cotham, a representative from 2007 to 2017 who entered the North Carolina House again in January, announced Wednesday she was switching parties because the "modern-day Democratic Party has become unrecognizable to me." She said the party bullied and tried to "control" her, including in personal attacks against her children. Cotham's party gave state House Republicans the 72 votes they need to override a veto from the governor.

"The party wants to villainize anyone who has free thought, free judgment, has solutions and wants to get to work to better our state," Cotham said. "Not just sit in a meeting and have a workshop after a workshop, but really work with individuals to get things done.

Despite running as a Democrat last year on issues like voting rights and LGBT issues, Cotham announced this week she was switching sides.

Her party switch is bad news for Gov. Roy Cooper (D.), who already faced a veto-proof majority in the Senate, with the House now just barely above the threshold. 

In response to Democrats who say, "We’re inclusive, we’re tolerant, we’re so welcoming," Cotham said, "No, you’re not." 

The veto-proof Republican majority empowers the party's legislative agenda, Axios reported

Republicans have held majorities in both the state House and the Senate for more than a decade, but in recent years, the threat of Cooper's veto has kept the party's power in check.

A supermajority could free up party leaders to more easily push long-hoped-for legislation restricting abortion and all but eliminate their need to compromise with the governor on the budget, changes to election laws and education reform.

Published under: North Carolina