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Despite Well-Known History of Hate Speech, Mark Robinson Still Has Support of Mainstream Republicans in Race for Governor

Source: Editorial Board, The Guardian 

Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson finally announced that he is running for North Carolina governor at a rainy rally at Ace Speedway on April 22 after more than a year of teasing a run.

Robinson, who has made waves with his hate speech regarding issues and topics like LGBTQ+ rights, women, guns and abortion, said at his announcement rally that the state needed a leader like him because he can relate to the challenges and desires of working people. 

Robinson, who was a factory worker before he went viral for ranting about guns at a Greensboro City Council meeting in 2018, has a background that should appeal to a certain segment of the voting population. Unfortunately for Republicans, he has a severe case of verbal diarrhea where nearly everything that comes out of his mouth is an attack on marginalized people.

His habit of saying homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic, antisemitic, anti-science and/or racist things has some Republicans worried about his candidacy, according to The Guardian.

There are concerns among some Republicans that his long history of hate could turn off independent and moderate voters while also motivating Democrats to head to the polls.

As of right now, Attorney General Josh Stein is the only Democrat who has announced a run for governor. Republican North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell is also running and former Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Walker is likely to announce his run in early May. 

Early polling shows that the likely matchup next year will be between Stein and Robinson. That could change, depending on how North Carolinians who don’t know about Robinson yet respond to his hateful rhetoric once they are made aware of it.

Despite everything that should disqualify Robinson from becoming North Carolina’s next governor, he has the support of plenty of mainstream Republican politicians.

Multiple Republicans were in attendance at Robinson’s Alamance County rally or sent in video statements of support.

According to WGHP-TV, Sens. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), Danny Britt (R-Robeson) and Brad Overcash (R-Gaston), as well as state Reps. Charlie Miller (R-New Hanover), Bill Ward (R-Camden) and Neal Jackson (R-Moore) were all on stage with the lieutenant governor during his rally. North Carolina Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop and Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Budd sent video messages supporting Robinson.

Even though he is popular with the Republican base and already has a good deal of campaign money to work with, there are many questions about whether his right-wing attacks on abortion, LGBTQ+ rights, and the role of women in society are the right issues to focus on. North Carolina is still considered a “purple” state where ticket-splitting is common. North Carolina has more than 2.4 million registered Democrats, 2.1 million registered Republicans and nearly 2.6 million registered unaffiliated voters.

Republican voters and the party itself should consider whether or not the best candidate to run for governor is one who:

And that’s just some of what he’s said and what he believes. It’s also important to highlight the fact that Robinson has never apologized for any of those comments or stances and that many of those were made during sermons he made at churches across the state.

Stein, Democrats and progressive organizations won’t be the only ones focusing on Robinson’s statements and beliefs, he will also face friendly fire from his Republican competitors. Folwell has already accused Robinson of “attacking people instead of attacking the important problems that our citizens are facing.” 

There are many North Carolinians who don’t know much about Robinson yet and there is still plenty of time for everyone across the state to learn who he really is. There is nearly a year before next March’s primary and then another eight months after that until the 2024 election.

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