A North Carolina Democratic legislator handed a decisive victory to the Republican party Wednesday by defecting and ensuring a veto-proof majority.
Announcing the switch, Tricia Cotham declared that “The modern-day Democratic Party has become unrecognizable to me and others across the state,” adding “I will not be controlled by anyone.”
“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,” she further proclaimed, adding “They have pushed me out.”
“The party wants to villainize anyone who has free thought, free judgment, has solutions and wants to get to work to better our state,” the legislator continued, saying she’d rather dedicate her time to that than “just sit in a meeting and have a workshop after a workshop.”
Cotham expressed a desire to “Really work with individuals to get things done. Because that is what real public servants do.”
Cotham went on to explain that one factor that influenced her decision to switch parties came after she was heavily criticized and verbally attacked for using the American flag and praying hands emoji on social media.
Cotham claimed that Democrats have been “blasting me on Twitter to calling me names, coming after my family, coming after my children,” describing an incident where she was verbally abused at a store while shopping with her son.
“I am still the same person, and I am going to do what I believe is right and follow my conscience,” Cotham vowed.
The switch says a lot about the state of the Democratic party, given that Cotham is hardly a traditional conservative, having served in the legislature as a Democrat for five terms, from 2007 to 2016 and being reelected as one this year.
As documented by the New York Times, Cotham campaigned on a “platform of raising the minimum wage, protecting voting rights and bolstering L.B.G.T.Q. rights.”
She also once took to the floor of the North Carolina House and announced she had previously had an abortion, calling it a “deeply personal decision” and accused GOP lawmakers of just wanting to “play doctor”.
Now, Cotham has indicated that she is open to supporting new abortion restrictions.
In a statement, GOP chair Michael Whatley said “This announcement continues to reflect that the Democratic Party is too radical for North Carolina.”
“The values of the Republican Party align with voters, and the people of Mecklenburg County should be proud to have her representation in Raleigh,” Whatley said of Cotham.
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