Up & Coming Weekly

October 31, 2023

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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6 UCW November 1 - 7, 2023 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM OPINION In the latest Civitas Poll, 49% of North Carolinians likely to vote in the Republican primary say they'd pick Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson to be the GOP nominee for governor in 2024. Of the remaining voters, 41% are undecided and the rest support other candidates such as State Treasurer Dale Folwell or former congressman Mark Walker. So, is Robinson the inevitable nomi- nee? at's been the conventional wisdom. Keep in mind that the threshold to win a primary outright, without a run- off, is only 30%. Robinson is already well above that, uh, mark. Most North Carolina Democrats agree with that conventional wisdom — and find it delightful. ey have a thick binder of opposition research on Mark Robinson. ey're looking forward to playing up his checkered financial past, unimpressive tenure as lieutenant governor, and history of outrageous comments. Given the recent terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians by Hamas thugs, in particular, Robinson's past use of antisemitic tropes in social-media posts will appear not just in attack ads but in appeals to out-of-state donors. Democrats think the resulting river of campaign cash will wash away not just Robinson but other Republican candidates down the ballot in 2024. e lieutenant governor and his political team are clearly worried about this. at's why Robinson called a press conference a couple of weeks ago, while Gov. Roy Cooper was in Japan on a trade mission. As "act- ing governor," Robinson proclaimed "North Carolina's Solidarity with Israel Week" and argued that his prior complaints about the financial and cultural power of Jews had been mis- interpreted. "ere have been some Facebook posts that were poorly worded on my part," he allowed, even as he insisted that "there is no antisemitism stand- ing here in front of you." With the gubernatorial primary still five months away, Republican politicians, consultants, donors, and activists are not of one mind about how to respond to the Robinson problem (which virtually everyone acknowledges, at least in private). Based on numerous conversations, I've concluded there are three schools of thought. Call the first the Accommodation- ists. ey agree with Democrats that Robinson is inevitable but disagree that he's destined to lose. ey ob- serve, correctly, that the 2024 elec- tion cycle will be dominated by the presidential contest. President Biden is unpopular. If he loses, they reason, the Democratic nominee for governor (presumably Attorney General Josh Stein) will likely go down with him. On the other hand, if Donald Trump is nominated and goes down in feloni- ous flames, it won't matter whether Robinson is the nominee. Stein will win, anyway. Given this scenario, why not en- dorse Robinson, help his campaign, and hope for the best? If he wins, they'll be in a position to help staff and advise his administration. And if he loses, no one will blame them. e second camp, the Challengers, refuse to accept Robinson as inevi- table. ey observe, correctly, that Republican primary voters actually know very little about the lieutenant governor. e latest entrant to the GOP field, attorney Bill Graham, has pledged to spend at least $5 million on ads in the coming weeks. Much of that will, presumably, be used to warn voters about Robinson's many politi- cal vulnerabilities. A Republican Party led by Mark Robinson, they reason, is a party that can neither win close races nor govern a closely divided state with credibility and prudence. e third camp, the Hedgers, include many Republican leaders in the General Assembly. ey don't relish being on a ballot with Robin- son, though they're not sure this can be avoided. On the other hand, if he happens to win, they doubt he'd be an effective governor. ey observe, correctly, that the legislation they just passed to strip the governor of ap- pointments to such panels as the State Board of Elections and the Board of Transportation would apply equally to a Governor Josh Stein or a Governor Mark Robinson. By strengthening legislative su- premacy, which was already their default position, they've made the gubernatorial election less conse- quential. Republican pols split on Mark Robinson by JOHN HOOD JOHN HOOD, Board Member, John Locke Foundation. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomingweekly.com. 910-484-6200 Vote Nov. 7th! We all deserve to feel safe in our homes, at work, at school, and out in our community. Vote for Change! lynnebgreene.com Please visit my website & blog at Paid for by Lynne Greene for City Council

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