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NC Lieutenant Governor Candidate Hal Weatherman Has a Funny Name But His Right-Wing Politics Are No Joke

Source: Editorial Board

There are few better names for a TV meteorologist than Hal Weatherman. Unfortunately, for North Carolinians, this Weatherman won’t be providing the seven-day forecast because he is a right-wing extremist politician who could be our state’s next lieutenant governor.

Weatherman has worked in North Carolina Republican politics, mostly behind the scenes, for years. He was chief of staff for former Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, campaign manager for ex-U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick (Forest’s mother), worked for former U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn and candidate Bo Hines (who lost a close congressional race in 2022 and then came in fourth place in a GOP congressional primary back in March).

According to a February article in The Assembly titled “The Hotly Contested Race to be North Carolina’s Least-Powerful Elected Official,” Weatherman’s current campaign for lieutenant governor “is similar to the 13 he has previously run on behalf of other candidates,” including Forest’s campaigns in 2012, 2016 and 2020, and Myrick’s campaigns before that.

The Assembly reported that Weatherman served as longtime chief of staff for Myrick, “who served 18 years as one of the most conservative members of Congress,” and then served in the same position with Myrick’s son.

If you subscribe to the belief that you can judge a person’s character by the company that they keep, then it certainly tells you something about Weatherman. He has spent decades surrounding himself with some of the most extreme and conservative politicians in our state.

You could also just read Weatherman’s words for an idea of who he is. Speaking to Smoky Mountain News in March 2023, he said that he would be a Lt. Gov. Dan Forest part II.

“If you see how Dan governed as lieutenant governor, I was his chief of staff during that whole time,” Weatherman said. “I was intimately involved in everything that we did. To me, it’s not really a question of how would Hal govern. You’ve kind of already seen it. And I feel like I have some unfinished business.”

For those unaware of how Forest governed, in 2012 NC Newsline called him “almost certainly the most conservative Lt. Governor in decades and quite likely the most conservative statewide elected official in North Carolina, period, seems little in doubt.” 

Forest kept his kids out of public schools, championed anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy clinics,” opposed the very idea of the minimum wage, wanted to abolish all corporate income taxes, repeal every part of the Affordable Care Act and associated with far-right conspiracy theorists – and Weatherman was behind many of those ideas.

When it comes to LGBTQ+ issues, Weatherman said he wants teachers to tell students who have questions, “Go ask your parents,” which is essentially what Republicans in the legislature put into law with their Parents Bill of Rights legislation.

Weatherman has also said that he would lobby the governor to remove Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) offices from every school in the state (not unlike what the UNC Board of Governors is doing) and that he would not only recommend pulling out of the American Library Association (ALA) but would lobby the General Assembly to create a full-time equivalent position in every single county that would be given the sole authority to pick what books schools are allowed to carry in their library, Carolina Journal reported.

You would be forgiven if you confused Weatherman with any of the state’s other extreme right-wing politicians like current Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, N.C. Attorney General hopeful and current U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop, state Senate leader Phil Berger, or state House Speaker Tim Moore.

And just like Robinson, Weatherman is an anti-choice extremist. When North Carolina Republicans announced legislation to ban abortion starting at 12 weeks, which is now the law, he expressed disappointment, calling the bill “hard to celebrate,” WRAL reported.

“At a minimum, I had hoped for a heartbeat bill (6 weeks) this session,” Weatherman said on social media. “… I look forward to the day when we have the votes to protect life from the day of conception.”

If Weatherman’s political views aren’t bad enough, he was also involved in a federal bribery scandal. Weatherman, in his role as Forest’s chief of staff, reached out to Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey’s office in August 2017, to set up a meeting for two men – insurance magnate Greg Lindberg and his associate John Gray – who ended up being convicted of trying to bribe Causey.

Texts and other messages between Weatherman and the men were used in a 2020 trial where both men were found guilty of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and conspiracy to commit “honest services wire fraud” in 2020, according to The Associated Press.

Those convictions were overturned in 2022 and new trials were ordered. A new federal trial was held earlier in May and a jury convicted both men of the same crimes for the second time. Lindberg and Gray face a maximum of 30 years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Weatherman was not charged in the case, but his involvement raises questions about his “unfinished business” in the Lieutenant Governor’s office.

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