In North Carolina, a Democratic state lawmaker officially switched her party affiliation to Republican, thus giving the GOP a supermajority in the lower chamber of the state’s legislature.
According to RedState, State Representative Tricia Cotham (D-N.C.), who was first elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives last November from the newly-created District 112, is expected to formally announce her switch to the Republican Party on Wednesday. Her switch will give the GOP control of 72 seats in the 120-seat chamber, exactly 60 percent of all seats, thus putting the party over the threshold of a supermajority that they fell one seat short of in the 2022 elections. The party currently holds a similar 60 percent majority in the State Senate, with 30 out of 50 seats in the upper chamber.
As Axios further reports, Cotham’s switch would give the North Carolina GOP “a veto-proof majority in the middle of the legislative session and a clear runway to enact their agenda despite opposition from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.”
This development represents a monumental shift in North Carolina politics. Once considered a major swing state that went for Barack Obama in the 2008 election before switching to Mitt Romney in 2012, the state has been slowly trending further to the right. President Donald Trump won the state in 2016 over Hillary Clinton by just under four points, and then narrowly won the state again in 2020 against Joe Biden by a margin of just 1.34 percent. That same year, Governor Roy Cooper (D-N.C.) was re-elected by a 4.5 percent margin of victory, while on the same ballot, Republican Mark Robinson won the lieutenant governor’s race by a margin of 3.2 percent.
Then, in 2022, the GOP picked up two seats in the state house and another two seats in the state senate. Most crucially, last November saw Trump-endorsed Congressman Ted Budd (R-N.C.) win the open race for the state’s U.S. Senate seat, by a margin of 3.2 percent against Democrat Cheri Beasley.
While the North Carolina GOP has enacted its veto override against Governor Cooper before, Cotham’s switch solidifies their majority and now all but guarantees that the party can pass laws without Cooper’s signature.