News Politics

Columbia lawmaker to run for seat vacated by party-switching senator

Cotham announces bid for Senate District 41

Tricia Cotham, a former Democratic state representative who switched to the Republican Party in April 2023, announced on Tuesday that she will run for the state Senate seat vacated by Jeff Jackson, who left the Democratic Party to join the GOP last week. Cotham said she wants to bring her experience and principles to the upper chamber and work with the Republican majority to advance conservative policies.

Cotham, who served in the House for nearly 10 years before returning in January, said she switched parties because she felt the Democratic Party had become too extreme and intolerant of different viewpoints. She said she supports lower taxes, school choice, gun rights, and pro-life legislation. She also said she is not afraid to work across the aisle and reach bipartisan solutions.

“I am still the same person, and I am going to do what I believe is right and follow my conscience,” Cotham said in a news conference at state GOP headquarters. “The party that best represents me and my principles and what’s best for North Carolina is the Republican Party.”

Columbia lawmaker to run for seat vacated by party-switching senator

Jackson’s departure leaves Democrats scrambling

Jackson, who represented Senate District 41 since 2014, announced his party switch on January 18, saying he was disillusioned with the Democratic Party’s direction and leadership. He said he felt more aligned with the Republican Party’s values and vision for the state. He also said he was frustrated with the governor’s vetoes and the lack of cooperation from the Democratic minority in the legislature.

Jackson’s departure gave the Republicans a veto-proof majority in both chambers of the legislature, making it easier for them to override the vetoes of Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat who is term-limited from seeking reelection in 2024. Jackson said he hopes to work with his new colleagues to pass legislation that will benefit the state and its citizens.

“I have always put the people of North Carolina first, and I will continue to do so as a Republican,” Jackson said in a statement. “I believe the Republican Party is the party of opportunity, freedom, and prosperity, and I am proud to join them in their efforts to make our state a better place.”

Democrats condemn party switchers, vow to fight back

The Democratic Party and its allies condemned Cotham and Jackson for their party switches, calling them traitors, opportunists, and sellouts. They said the two lawmakers betrayed the trust of their voters and their party, and that they should resign immediately. They also said they will work hard to regain the seats and challenge the Republican agenda.

“This is a deceit of the highest order. It is a betrayal to the people of Mecklenburg County with repercussions not only for the people of their district but for the entire state of North Carolina,” state Democratic Party Chair Anderson Clayton said in a news conference. “We will not let them get away with this. We will fight for every vote and every seat, and we will hold them accountable for their actions.”

Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue said the party switchers have shown their true colors and exposed their lack of integrity. He said the Democrats will continue to stand up for the issues that matter to the people of North Carolina, such as health care, education, and the environment.

“They have sold their souls to the highest bidder, and they have abandoned their principles and their constituents,” Blue said. “They have joined a party that is out of touch with the needs and the values of the majority of North Carolinians. They have chosen power over people, and they will pay the price at the ballot box.”

Senate District 41 expected to be competitive in 2024

Senate District 41, which covers parts of Mecklenburg County, including Charlotte, is expected to be a competitive race in the 2024 election. The district has a slight Democratic lean, but it has also shown signs of shifting to the right in recent years. In 2020, Jackson won reelection with 51% of the vote, while President Joe Biden won the district with 53% of the vote.

Cotham, who lives in Matthews, said she is confident that she can win over the voters of the district with her record and her message. She said she has a strong base of support from her previous campaigns and her current House district, which overlaps with the Senate district. She also said she is ready to face any potential challengers from either party.

“I have proven that I can win tough races and represent the people of this district with honesty and integrity,” Cotham said. “I have a vision for the future of North Carolina that is based on common sense and conservative values. I am not afraid of competition, and I welcome anyone who wants to join the race.”

Jackson, who lives in Charlotte, said he will not seek reelection to the Senate, but he did not rule out running for another office in the future. He said he will focus on his new role as a Republican senator and his work as an attorney. He also said he will support Cotham and other Republican candidates in the 2024 election.

“I have enjoyed serving the people of Senate District 41, and I am grateful for their trust and support over the years,” Jackson said. “I have decided to pursue other opportunities and challenges, but I will always remain involved and engaged in public service. I wish Tricia Cotham the best of luck, and I will do everything I can to help her and the Republican Party succeed.”


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *