Sunday’s New York Times deep dive into Mecklenburg County Representative Tricia Cotham’s shocking decision to switch parties and give North Carolina Republicans a veto-proof supermajority in the state legislature contained few bombshells on the now-infamous legislator’s controversial move.
For the most part, the Times rehashed details many North Carolinians already know:
➢ That Cotham was recruited by Republicans to run for a second stint in the legislature after several years away
➢ That Cotham spent the years between her first and second stretches as an elected official working as a education-focused lobbyist, developing close relationships with Republicans and a passion for school privatization
➢ That when Cotham filed to run in 2022 it surprised many Democrats–and her silent treatment of others in the caucus and of organizations like Planned Parenthood raised concerns before the election
➢ That Cotham was angry that Democrats “treated her as a newcomer when she returned to the House, inviting her to freshman orientation and offering her a mentor”
➢ That no evidence has surfaced to support Cotham’s contention that she was a victim of bullying by fellow Democratic legislators
➢ That the legislator was envious of attention that other Democrats received from the party and upset that she “did not get the gratitude or spotlight that she felt she deserved”
However, some details about Cotham’s political fundraising stood out to me.
Cotham was elected to a very blue seat, knocking off her Republican opponent by almost 20%. Interestingly, the New York Times identifies some of the biggest donors to her campaign for the Democratic House seat as having given almost exclusively to Republicans.
The Times also noted at least one donor, Ann Newman, as having requested and received a refund for a $250 contribution she made to Cotham’s 2022 campaign.
According to transparencyusa.org, Cotham took in nearly $82,000 in contributions for the 2022 general election. While there were apparently some Republicans donating to what they hoped would be a Trojan Horse candidate, the majority of those donors were local Democrats who expected that Cotham would represent their interests after they helped her win her seat.
That’s what a representative is supposed to do, right?
Not only did Cotham NOT represent those interests, her decision to switch parties singlehandedly gifted a veto-proof supermajority to North Carolina Republicans, meaning Governor Cooper can no longer stop terrible policy from becoming law.
Cotham has also gone out of her way to lend support to efforts to restrict women’s health care and divert funding for public schools to private schools and charters.
So much for those campaign promises.
If you’re among the donors that Cotham hoodwinked, you can request a refund by email or phone at the contact information provided on Cotham’s General Assembly page: