North Carolina state Rep. Tricia Cotham shocked the country when the vocally pro women's rights to healthcare legislator suddenly switched parties to vote against women's rights. Turns out Cotham was encouraged to run and supported by Republicans while keeping Democrats at arm's length.
The lengths that the Republican party will go to, to gain and hold on to power are astounding.
On Sunday, the New York Times reported that both Republican House Speaker Tim Moore and Republican Majority Leader John Bell encouraged her to run in the Democratic primary in the spring of 2022. The Times described it this way: "Republican leaders cultivated her before she ran and, seeing her growing estrangement [from Democrats], seized a chance to coax her across party lines."
Cotham previously served in the state house as a Democrat from 2007 to 2016 but left the role after failing to win a seat in Congress. During her time away, she was a registered lobbyist whose clients included charter schools. When she decided to run for Congress again, local Democratic activists said Cotham never responded to their offers to help with her 2022 campaign. Jezebel reported in May that Cotham blew off multiple endorsement meetings with Planned Parenthood South Atlantic ahead of the primary and then fumed to a campaign worker in a now-public Twitter DM that Planned Parenthood and another pro-choice organization had "really screwed" her.
As Cotham was keeping Democrats at an arms' length, Moore was in her corner. He told the paper, "I reached out to her and told her good luck, I hope she wins." When Cotham returned to Raleigh, she bristled at being treated like a newcomer and didn't attend freshman orientation.