North Carolina Republicans are watching their party implode with “one controversy after another,” and “more than 15,000 registered Republicans” fleeing the party in the wake of the Capitol insurrection. Now, long-time Republican Kimrey Rhinehardt is mounting a Senate run as an independent after saying in a tweet: “I will run for U.S. Senate if Lara Trump steps foot in North Carolina.”
It’s just another example of how divided Republicans in North Carolina are Post-Trump.
- For thousands of Republican voters, the Capitol riots showed them enough to leave the party as they saw Republican elected officials and party leaders abandon Democracy to prove complete fealty to Donald Trump, spouting baseless claims and lies about election fraud, and inciting a deadly insurrection that cost lives. Reinhardt was one of them: “To Rhinehardt, Trump crossed the Rubicon and he took the Republican Party with him. After a lifetime fighting for Republican interests, she could no longer bear to represent the party.”
- For others, it was the North Carolina Republican Party’s swift censure of Senator Burr after voting to impeach the former president. Judge Bob Orr tweeted after the swift condemnation: “I CAN’T WAIT TO LEAVE THE GOP. PAPERWORK TO BE FILED NEXT WEEK.”
It’s clear — the NC GOP has pledged it’s loyalty to Trump. But it’s race to the far-right is “another sign of the party signaling to unaffiliated voters” that the GOP “isn’t interested in their vote.” Republicans could be looking at a potential “nightmare scenario” of going full Trump in a state like North Carolina.
Take a look at some of the recent reporting on the turmoil surrounding North Carolina Republicans.
- More than 15,000 registered Republicans switched parties since the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, with 85% of them becoming politically unaffiliated.
- For the last two months, the party has faced one controversy after another beginning with the attack on the Capitol that many blame on Trump.
- “I leave the GOP having won 4 statewide elections in NC as the Republican nominee. Only 3 others in NC history have won more.” Orr had told The News & Observer of his intention to leave the party after the Capitol riot but didn’t do so until after Burr’s censure.
- Similarly, Kimrey Rhinehardt, a former Burr staffer who worked on Capitol Hill and has spent her adult life as a Republican, told The News & Observer in January that after seeing the riot play out on TV she felt she had no choice but to change to an unaffiliated voter.
- On Feb. 15, she tweeted that if Lara Trump, the former president’s daughter-in-law and a former North Carolina resident, runs for Burr’s seat as rumored, Rhinehardt would also run.
Chatham News & Record: Chatham’s Kimrey Rhinehardt planning bid for U.S. Senate
- Rhinehardt will not represent the Republican Party when she seeks office next year. After decades working for the Republican cause, her life changed on Jan. 6 when a mob of Trump supporters ransacked the Capitol building. Rhinehardt could no longer oblige the party’s deviation from her principals. A few days later she refiled with the Board of Elections as an unaffiliated voter.
- And she wasn’t alone. Thousands of North Carolina voters — most of them Republicans — have changed their registrations to unaffiliated in the last two months.