On Wednesday, North Carolina state Rep. Tricia Cotham announced that she was switching her party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. The move gives the GOP a veto-proof majority in the state House.
At a news conference at Republican Party headquarters in Raleigh, Cotham said that the “modern-day Democratic Party has become unrecognizable to me.” She added that the party “wants to villainize anyone who has free thought, free judgment, has solutions, who wants to get to work to better our state, not just sit in a meeting and have a workshop after a workshop.”
Cotham was elected last November as a Democrat after she previously served for 10 years in the House, from 2007 to 2017. She campaigned on issues typically held by Democrats, including being a champion of LGBTQ+ rights and expanding voting rights.
Cotham’s switch to the Republican Party gives the GOP a veto-proof majority in the state House, with 72 members. Republicans also had enough seats in the Senate to override vetoes in the scenario that all members are voting.
The move has been met with outrage from Democrats, with many calling on Cotham to resign. Governor Roy Cooper said in a statement that her decision was “disappointing.” He added that “it’s hard to believe she would abandon these long-held principles and she should still vote the way she has always said she would vote when these issues arise, regardless of party affiliation.”
Cotham is just one of many state lawmakers nationwide who have switched parties in recent months, as both Republicans and Democrats have seen an increase in party switching. The trend has been attributed to the increasingly polarized nature of politics, as well as to the growing influence of social media and other online platforms.
Democrats will “villainize anyone who has free thought, free judgement, has solutions,” says North Carolina State Rep Tricia Cotham after switching parties.
“If you don’t do exactly what the Democrats want you to do, they will try to bully you. They will try to cast you aside.” pic.twitter.com/Jhnn1TxXjK
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) April 5, 2023