N.C. Rep. Tricia Cotham (D-Mecklenburg) will switch party affiliation and become a Republican, according to reporting from Axios. Cotham is expected to formally announce her switch on Wednesday.
Cotham's switch would give Republicans a narrow three-fifths supermajority in both houses of the N.C. General Assembly, which could give them power to overturn any of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's vetoes. With Cotham, Republicans would hold 72 seats in the N.C. House and 30 in the N.C. Senate, exactly 60 percent of the seats in each chamber.
Anderson Clayton, the chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party, said in a tweet Cotham's decision betrays her constituents, and will have repercussions for the entire state.
"She no longer represents the values constituents trusted her to champion, and should resign immediately," Clayton said.
With Cooper's veto weakened by Cotham's switch, Republicans would be able to push through their policy priorities — including abortion restrictions and education reform — with more ease.
The last time Republicans held a supermajority in both houses of the General Assembly was before the 2018 election.
Cotham was one of three Democrats not present for the House's recent vote to overturn Cooper's veto on a bill to remove pistol permit requirements. She released a statement saying she had scheduled medical treatment during the vote.
Cotham won her district, which is entirely within Mecklenburg County, by a margin of 18.5 percent in the 2022 election over Republican Tony Long.
"If candidate Tricia Cotham had been honest before the election, she would not have won her seat," N.C. Sen. Natasha Marcus (D-Mecklenburg) said in a tweet. "The people of her district do not support the extreme rightwing policies that the NCGOP is shoving down our throats, now with her help. This is dishonest and undemocratic."