Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson’s high-profile role in N.C. politics is helping attract more support for the Republican Party among African-American voters across the country. That’s the assessment from a member of Congress quoted Tuesday in a Newsweek column.
Jeff Charles’ opinion piece carries the headline “A Record Number of Black Republicans Are Running for Office. They’re Revolutionizing the GOP.”
The piece features this passage:
“Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) told the Washington Times that having more Black conservatives in the House has helped to inspire more Black voters to give GOP candidates a chance. ‘They see me. They see Burgess [Owens]. They saw [Rep. Allen West of Florida]. They saw [Rep. Mia Love of Utah]. They see [Virginia Lt. Gov.] Winsome Sears. They see [North Carolina Lt. Gov.] Mark Robinson,’ he explained. ‘And what they say is, “You know what? Maybe I should step up, too.”’”
Charles reports 81 African-American candidates running as Republicans in 72 congressional districts this year, according to the National Republican Congressional Committee. “This is more than a 50 percent increase over the 2020 election cycle,” he writes. “And if the GOP knows what’s good for it, this will be the start of a new era in right-wing politics.”
Robinson won North Carolina’s 2020 race for lieutenant governor in his first bid for a major public office. After winning 33% of the vote in a nine-way Republican primary (second-place finisher Andy Wells secured 15%), Robinson beat Democrat Yvonne Lewis Holley, 52% to 48%, in the general election.
More than 2.8 million people cast ballots for Robinson in November 2020. Among candidates in Council of State races, only State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, Gov. Roy Cooper, and Treasurer Dale Folwell tallied more votes. Each of those winning candidates was an incumbent seeking re-election.
More than 53% of likely Republican primary voters held a favorable impression of Robinson, according to a Civitas Poll conducted April 1-3 by Cygnal for the John Locke Foundation. Just 6% reported an unfavorable opinion.
Among high-profile state Republican leaders, Robinson’s favorability topped U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (49%), state Senate leader Phil Berger (26%), state House Speaker Tim Moore (17%), Folwell (14%), and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt (9%).
The 47-point spread between Robinson’s favorable and unfavorable ratings topped all six GOP officials in the April Civitas Poll. Berger had the next highest spread, 20 points, between his favorable and unfavorable numbers.
The lieutenant governor is eligible to run for re-election, but most political observers expect him to run for governor in 2024. Term limits prevent Cooper from seeking re-election, so the race for state government’s top executive job will be open.