Mecklenburg County Democrats feeling betrayed, called for the resignation of NC Rep. Tricia Cotham, an eastern Mecklenburg County Democrat who will switch to the Republican Party and give it a majority vote in the House.
“I’m very troubled that we’re handing a supermajority to the Republicans through deceit. I’m sickened by it,” Commissioner Susan Rodriguez-McDowell said at the Mecklenburg County dais on Tuesday night.
They gathered at a shopping center off East WT Harris Boulevard on Wednesday afternoon chanting “Resign, resign, resign!”
The Mecklenburg County Democratic Party’s chair also advised those who donated money for Cotham’s campaign to request for a refund.
“Let’s contact Tricia Cotham to get our money back. You won’t be able to get your time back, but you can get your money back. Ask for her to refund your contributions,” Chair Jane Whitley said.
Whitley said she found out about Tricia Cotham’s intended move to the Republican Party from social media. Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County President DonnaMarie Woodson said Cotham didn’t tell her or her colleagues ahead of her switch.
“She needs to come to us, the Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County, and give us an explanation. She owes that to the Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County who have supported her. She didn’t have the guts to even talk to us?” Woodson said.
If Tricia Cotham chooses to refund the money donated to her for her campaign, she will have to report it as an expenditure in her campaign finance reports with the elections office. However, according to reports, there is no compelling law for her to do so.
“She can absolutely give their money back. But there’s nothing that would require her to do so,” Kristin Mavromatis with the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections said.
Amongst the top Democrats and groups who contributed to Cotham for her 2022 victory is U.S. Rep. Jeff Jackson’s old campaign for N.C. Senate and the Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County.
Cotham won a four-candidate primary and won with 59% of the vote in the general election.
Democrats fear Tricia Cotham’s move might put Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto power in jeopardy for controversial votes such as an abortion ban or new restriction.
Democrat Ann Newman said “Cotham deceived the good Democrats in her district. She must resign her seat and allow us to move on and replace her with someone who represents our democratic values.”
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Black Political Caucus, which endorsed Cotham, in a statement said the move was regrettable.
It read; “our endorsement of Rep. Cotham was a reflection of our belief in her ability to not only represent but also uplift the Black community. Regrettably, her shift in values appears to align her more closely with a political faction with a troubling history of policies and rhetoric aimed at suppressing the voices of marginalized groups, including African Americans and women.”
Local activist Ray Shawn McKinnon likened Tricia Cotham’s move to Judas Iscariot betraying Jesus Christ, on April 5, the Holy Wednesday to Easter.
“We don’t know why Tricia Ann Cotham betrayed the voters of District 112. We don’t know what she got from it. When Jesus was betrayed by Judas, it wasn’t over and it isn’t now. Tricia Cotham might believe that she can say the things that she said without accountability, but we’re here to tell her she cannot.”