Nine Infuriating Things NC Republicans Did in 2019
by Victoria Gordon
- North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby, the only registered Republican on the NC Supreme Court, compared his colleagues to US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Newby said “Imagine seven AOCs on the state Supreme Court. Well, folks, we got six. It’s six to one.” These comments may have violated the NC Code of Judicial Conduct, which discourages the behavior Newby exhibited by suggesting his colleagues were biased and partial. Furthermore, Newby tried to fundraise off of his inflammatory comments.
- In a year where North Carolina legislators were forced by a court order to redraw both legislative and congressional districts due to gerrymandering, some Republican legislators attended an ALEC conference where attendees could participate in a closed-door panel called “How to Survive Redistricting.” In the panel, legislators were told to treat redistricting as a “political adult blood sport” and avoid the word “gerrymander.” Sarah Stevens, John Sauls, Jason Saine, Stephen Ross, Brenden Jones, Chris Humphrey, Kyle Hall, and Destin Hall were in attendance among several other senators, Dale Folwell, the State Treasurer, and some legislative staff.
- Greg Lindberg, a major Republican donor who gave millions to Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, was indicted for attempting to bribe NC Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey. Lindberg donated $1 million to Truth and Prosperity Committee, a NC super PAC that supports Forest, and $1.4 million to the NC Republican Council of State Committee, chaired by Forest, which contributed nearly $50k to Dan Forest’s committee in-kind.
- Former NC GOP Chairman Robin Hayes was indicted for bribery in the same case as Greg Lindberg and pled guilty to lying to the FBI. Following his indictment for attempting to bribe insurance commissioner Mike Causey NC GOP Chairman Robin Hayes stepped down in April. In September Hayes pled guilty to lying to the FBI and will face up to six months in prison.
- On September 11 Republicans claimed there would be an early morning no-vote session in the House, so most Democrats were not in their seats. Instead, Republicans held a surprise vote to override Gov. Cooper’s veto of the budget. Democratic Rep. Deb Butler shouted objections, saying “we will not yield” as Speaker Moore called for the vote. House Minority Leader Darren Jackson said Rep. David Lewis told him there would be no votes held until 1 p.m. and reporters verified Jackson’s claims.
- Cooper vetoed the 2019 Republican budget because it didn’t expand Medicaid, but Republicans refused a compromise that would provide health care to more than half a million North Carolinians. Sen. Berger said Medicaid “disincentivizes folks to go to work.” Medicaid expansion would be covered 90 percent by federal funds; however, Republicans in the NCGA still fear it would be a fiscal disaster and refuse to compromise with the governor.
- Republicans passed H370, a bill that would force North Carolina sheriffs to work with Trump’s ICE agents, but Gov. Cooper vetoed the bill. H370 would have forced sheriffs to act as an extension of ICE, making communities across NC less safe as anonymous ICE agents yield unchecked power.
- The NC-09 hearings shone a national spotlight on coordinated and well-funded election fraud to elect a Republican. Harris hired Leslie McCrae Dowless as an aide despite warnings that Dowless may have used questionable tactics (absentee voter fraud) to deliver votes. The NCGOP ignored these warning signs.
- Moments after telling reporters to “think carefully” about their words, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest made up a inflammatory accusation about immigrants. He falsely claimed “tens of thousands” of children in NC were victims of violent crimes committed by immigrants. Forest’s statement was ranked “false” by PolitiFact even after his staffers were given a chance to cite specific information.