April 11, 2023
Some people in the room had lent their support to Tricia Cotham when she ran for the N.C. House as a Democrat. Some of the people were part of organizations that endorsed her bid, and supported her platform as a Democrat.
The emotions created by the announcement last week that Cotham would re-register as a Republican spilled out this morning. A number of House incumbents, all Democrats, were on hand and their comments focused on the longterm implications of the shift of one vote.
The legislature, dominated now by Republicans, jostles constantly with Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat. North Carolina voters in November 1995 approved veto power for the governor. But the legislature, if it musters enough votes in both houses, can override a veto. With Cotham’s party switch, Republicans will have enough votes to routinely override the governor. While this is of particular moment because the legislature is controlled by Republicans and Cooper is a Democrat, the strengthened power of legislative over executive would be an equally signal event if one party controlled both branches, or if the current split were reversed.
There were numerous comments about how the controversy should encourage turnout among voters. The opposite, of course, might occur if independent voters, who are more numerous than both Republicans or Democrats, wash their hands of politics.
There were also calls for new organizations, new methods of reaching younger residents who may be registered by do not routinely vote.
A number of news outlets sent reporters to the meeting. Links will be added here as any reports are published.
The Black Political Caucus on April 5 issued a statement on Rep. Cotham’s switch to the GOP.