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Robinson Brings Extreme Positions and “Long Trail of Controversial Statements” to “Potentially Bruising” GOP Primary

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Robinson Brings Extreme Positions and “Long Trail of Controversial Statements” to “Potentially Bruising” GOP Primary

Robinson: “Let’s say I was the governor and had a willing legislature, we could pass a bill saying you can’t have an abortion in North Carolina for any reason.”

Lt. Governor Mark Robinson’s entrance into the North Carolina GOP gubernatorial primary this weekend renewed the focus on his extreme and dangerous agenda, including wanting to ban abortion with no exceptions, referring to members of the LGBTQ+ community as “filth,” and suggesting that women cannot be leaders.

Robinson’s “long trail of controversial statements” has made clear that he could put North Carolinians in harm’s way and send businesses out of the state. These statements have drawn widespread backlash from around the state, raising “concern among GOP campaign strategists” and giving ammunition to Robinson’s primary opponents.

Here’s what they’re saying about how Robinson’s extreme agenda threatens to turbocharge a “potentially bruising challenge in the primary”:

WRAL:

  • For as much as Robinson’s words have excited the Republican base, they’ve also drawn outrage from liberals and sparked concern among GOP campaign strategists who worry that his language hurts the party’s chances of winning the state’s top office.
  • Even before running for office, Robinson had claimed that abortion is wrong because “God says so.” He said the U.S. would feel “the wrath of God” if voters allowed it to become an accepted part of society. He doubled down on that claim just days after he was inaugurated, telling ralliers at a March for Life event that the nation’s fate was tied to its abortion laws.
  • “We allow the murder of the most innocent human beings on earth and we do it with impunity,” he said. “If we do not purge abortion from our shores for the cause of life the same way we purged slavery for the cause of liberty, this nation will not continue to stand.”
  • It’s unclear whether Robinson’s views on abortion – which polls show are out of step with North Carolina voters – will derail his campaign. GOP insiders have, however, said Robinson’s comments about gay and transgender people could cost him his next statewide race.
  • At a church in Seagrove that same month, Robinson said no one should teach children in classrooms about “transgenderism, homosexuality — any of that filth.”
  • At a church in Winston-Salem that November, Robinson targeted gay and lesbian people, saying: “Everything that God made serves a purpose. Will somebody please explain to me the purpose of homosexuality? … What does it create? It creates nothing.”
  • GOP strategists have said Robinson’s rhetoric could threaten his ability to attract enough support from critical suburban voters.
  • Robinson’s comments about gender roles extend beyond the transgender community. In a speech at a Charlotte church last May, Robinson acknowledged that he was “getting ready to get in trouble.” He then said: “We are called to be led by men.”
  • “God sent women out … when they had to do their thing, but when it was time to face down Goliath, [He] sent David. Not Davida, David,” he said. Robinson went on to say that, in the Bible, God sent Moses to lead the Israelites. “Not Momma Moses,” he said. “Daddy Moses.”

POLITICO:

  • On Saturday, when the state’s lightning rod Republican lieutenant governor, Mark Robinson, formally announces his gubernatorial campaign, polls suggest he will instantly become the frontrunner for the nomination. He’ll saddle the GOP with a laundry list of his past public controversies — from agreeing with antisemitic remarks about the global economy to homophobic musings that children shouldn’t learn about “homosexuality or any of that filth.”
  • In a state where surveys show a majority of voters favor keeping abortion legal, he has compared the procedure to murder. And even some Republicans in North Carolina see him as a liability.
  • But as he launches his campaign in rural Alamance County, Robinson will need to do what many high-profile, controversial Republicans failed to accomplish in last year’s midterms — overcome his past comments that could be deeply unpopular with general election voters.
  • Still, he could face a potentially bruising challenge in the primary — largely focused on other Republicans’ concerns that he is not electable in the fall.
  • Mark Walker, a former Greensboro-area congressman who unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for Senate last year, is publicly mulling a run, and is expected to enter the race in the coming weeks.
  • Even if Walker does not get in, Robinson is facing other challengers in the Republican primary. Already in the race is Dale Folwell, the state treasurer first elected in 2016, who cast himself as an alternative to Robinson in part because he is “not a gamble on the ballot.”

New York Times:

  • Mr. Robinson… has since made clear that he wants far greater restrictions on abortion rights in North Carolina, casting doubt on the need for exceptions in cases of rape and incest.
  • Josh Stein, the state’s Democratic attorney general who is running for governor, said in an interview that there was “no question” that he saw abortion rights as being directly on the ballot. That message was effective for Democrats in governor’s races in several critical states last year.
  • “The only reason North Carolina doesn’t have a ban on abortion now is because we have a Democratic governor,” Mr. Stein said.

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