Republicans in North Carolina are sensing momentum as they look to push forward a wide-ranging legislative agenda with an extra pep in their step after a Democratic lawmaker changed parties this week, giving the GOP a veto-proof supermajority in the state House.
North Carolina state Rep. Tricia Cotham announced Wednesday that she is joining the Republican Party after long serving her deep blue Charlotte-area district as a Democrat. Beyond being symbolically important, the announcement could have a profound effect on the Tar Heel State.
While North Carolina Republicans have held majorities in both the state’s House and Senate chambers for years, the threat of a veto from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has prevented them from implementing much of their agenda. But Cotham’s decision to join the GOP gives Republicans a clear path with a veto-proof majority in the House — complementing the GOP supermajority in the state Senate — to push a wide range of legislation without necessarily needing to compromise with Cooper.
“If it’s a hot topic in American politics, the North Carolina General Assembly likely has a bill dealing with it,” said Christopher Cooper, a professor of political science and public affairs at Western Carolina University.