Trump Ally Shakes Up NC Race

GOP's Mark Robinson takes flak for posts about women, LGBTQ community
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2024 11:08 AM CDT
Inflammatory Candidate Shakes Up NC Race
North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson is running for governor.   (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

One of the most high-profile governor's races in the nation is in North Carolina, where GOP Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson is up against Democratic state Attorney General Josh Stein. Given that North Carolina is a swing state with a Democratic governor (Roy Cooper) and a GOP-controlled Legislature, the race was going to draw attention regardless. But Robinson's in-your-face political style is bringing an extra dose. Coverage:

  • Robinson: The 55-year-old Robinson is known for his inflammatory rhetoric, most often directed at the LGBTQ community, per the Raleigh News & Observer. A profile in New York magazine is headlined "Mark Robinson is MAGA's Great Black Hope," while Donald Trump—who has endorsed him—has referred to Robinson as "Martin Luther King on steroids," per the AP.

  • On women: The Washington Post is out with a story focused on Robinson's long history of comments defending men accused of assaulting women and making light of the attacks. For example, he has referred to Harvey Weinstein and others as "sacrificial lambs" who've been used to spread a false narrative about "toxic masculinity." And he seemed to fault a woman whose beating by then-NFL star Ray Rice was caught on video for instigating the attack. "I'm a 350lb man but aint no way in HELL I'm gonna' slap no pro football player," Robinson wrote on Facebook. "I'm to old for an a$$whoopin'."
  • He defends: The Post suggests Robinson's history of "caustic remarks" about women endangers the GOP's hopes of flipping the governor's seat. His campaign rejects that: "No matter how many partisan hit pieces the Washington Post cranks out, if and when he should become governor, Mark Robinson will take the oath and duties of his office with the utmost respect, working to make North Carolina better for people of all backgrounds and walks of life," says spokesperson Mike Lonergan.
  • Defends, II: The AP notes that Robinson has said previously that he can separate his personal beliefs on issues such as homosexuality and abortion access from his public duties.
  • A boost: Politico notes that Republicans in the state Legislature recently altered campaign finance law in a way that Democrats say is intended to boost Robinson, who's being outraised by Stein in a major way. One big change allows "donors to back Robinson without having to directly attach their names to his candidacy," per the outlet.
(More North Carolina stories.)

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