Republicans opposing Republicans

Published March 27, 2024

By Gary Pearce


Even Republicans think Republicans have gone too far in North Carolina.

After losing the Republican primary for governor to Mark Robinson, Bill Graham said, “Mark Robinson is an unelectable candidate in the general election in North Carolina, and he puts a conservative future at risk for everyone, from the courthouse to the White House.”

Paul Shumaker, a veteran Republican strategist, said Robinson doesn’t have what it takes to be elected governor – or to be governor:

“Governors need to be able to project stability on fixing people’s problems. And the question is going to be how, given Mark Robinson’s comments, how can he project stability in being able to address the problems that people expect their governor to address?”

Republican Senator Thom Tillis endorsed Graham in the primary. Tillis said:

“Mark Robinson’s a good enough guy. I don’t know him that well, but he has virtually no legislative experience, very little business experience. We’re a very, very important state and we have to have people with that kind of experience, I think, to continue this track record that we’ve had since Republicans took control of North Carolina when I became speaker. And so for those reasons, I’ve decided to support Bill.”

Robinson is only one of Republicans’ problems this year.

GOP primary voters dumped Catherine Truitt, the conservative state Superintendent of Public Instruction, for Michele Morrow (photo), a MAGA Republican who calls public schools “socialist indoctrination centers,” was at the January 6 insurrection and called for the execution of Democratic elected officials, including former President Obama and Governor Roy Cooper.

“I prefer a Pay Per View of him (Obama) in front of the firing squad,” she said.

Tillis quickly distanced himself from Morrow.

His spokesperson told Michael Hyland of WNCN it’s “highly unlikely he’d support her. Spewing terrorist propaganda and calling for public executions of elected officials you disagree with are things we usually hear from radical fundamentalists in places like Iran, Afghanistan, and Russia, not candidates running for office in North Carolina.”

Even the reliably Republican N.C. Chamber of Commerce said the GOP primary results were “a startling warning of the looming threats to North Carolina’s business climate.”

The Chamber pointed specifically to Morrow and Luke Farley, who beat establishment favorite Jon Hardister in the primary for labor commissioner.

The Chamber said, “Luke Farley is a far-right candidate whose two main campaign platform items were banning vaccine requirements for employees and ‘Making Elevators Great Again’.”

North Carolina, of course, has a history of electing far-right candidates. Jesse Helms won five Senate elections.

But Democrats have won seven of the last eight governor’s races, going back to Jim Hunt in 1992.

As Paul Shumaker noted, North Carolinians want executive-branch leaders who are stable problem-fixers.

“Stable problem-fixers” is not a term that describes Mark Robinson, Michele Morrow or Luke Farley.