According to reports, a North Carolina Democrat abandoned ship on Tuesday, solidifying the Republican supermajority in the state’s House of Representatives.
Rep. Tricia Cotham of Charlotte joined the state’s GOP covertly and without fanfare; all that was said in a tweet welcoming her to the party’s ranks was that she was a favorite.
The Charlotte lawmaker, who won the seat by over 20 percentage points last year following a competitive Democratic primary, is anticipated to officially announce the decision Wednesday morning at a press conference with her new party colleagues, according to sources.
According to a Republican House member, the party had hoped Cotham would change parties at some time during the term, but the possibility seemed more likely last week.
— Alfredo Rodriguez (@DyceComms) April 4, 2023
Uncertain of her motivation, Cotham has recently drawn criticism from her Democratic colleagues for missing a vote last week to overturn North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of Republican-sponsored legislation loosening some gun rules.
Republicans were able to pass the bill even without Cotham and two other absent Democrats from the Democratic Party.
Republicans will control the state House and Senate with Cotham on their side, giving the party a veto-proof majority in opposition to the Democratic governor.
As word of Cotham’s covert flip spread on Tuesday, the Democratic fury against her only mounted, with her former colleagues clamoring for her resignation.
“Rep. Tricia Cotham campaigned as a Democrat and supporter of abortion rights, health care, public education, gun safety and civil rights. The voters of House District 112 elected her to serve as that person and overwhelmingly supported Democratic candidates up and down the ballot. The appropriate action is for her to resign so that her constituents are fairly represented in the North Carolina House of Representatives,” said House Democratic Leader Robert Reives in a statement.
Reives’ request for Cotham to resign was reiterated by Anderson Clayton, the state’s Democratic party chair, and Jane White, the Democratic party chair of Mecklenburg County, who both referred to Cotham’s actions as “betrayal” and “deceit of the highest order.”