Mark Robinson, A Popular Figure Among Far-right Trump Supporters, Wins North Carolina Governor Primary

The Republican standard-bearer in the most competitive governor contest of the 2024 election is now officially a man who has cited Adolf Hitler, called LGBT people “filth,” and threatened to use an AR-15 against federal officials.

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson won the Republican selection for governor Tuesday night. The Associated Press projected him as the primary winner less than an hour after the polls closed.

Robinson defeated rivals Dale Folwell and Bill Graham, who had the support of GOP establishment figures worried about Robinson’s inflammatory rhetoric and far-right viewpoints.

Robinson’s primary victory was expected. Now, he will fight Attorney General Josh Stein (D) in a general election contest that is a high priority for both parties—and one that might have far-reaching consequences given North Carolina’s reputation as a presidential battleground.

Some Republicans are concerned that Robinson’s record is so radical that he will not only fail to flip the governorship but will also bring down the whole of the GOP ticket in the state, including Donald Trump.

Robinson, a relative newbie to politics, has swiftly gained many admirers and opponents due to his willingness to embrace controversy wherever feasible. Robinson’s record, which includes making Islamophobic jokes and rejecting the Holocaust as “hogwash” in an old Facebook post, appears to provide Democrats with virtually infinite opportunity to create attack commercials.

“There’s no reason anyone in America should be teaching any child about transgenderism, homosexuality, or any of that filth,” Robinson remarked at a Baptist church in June 2023. “Yes, I called it filth. And if you don’t like the fact that I termed it filth, come visit me, and I’ll explain.”

Although Robinson has attempted to clean up some of his comments in recent months—by backtracking or simply insisting that they weren’t that bad—he recently doubled down on his anti-LGBT sentiment, accusing unnamed teachers of “pushing these perverted agendas to try to teach our children that they’re really not boys or girls” and “shoving this homosexuality garbage down their throats,” according to USA Today.

Robinson’s burden does not end there.

He has previously been compelled to clarify that he did not advocate for the death of public officials after claiming to have “got them AR-15s in case the government gets too big for its britches.”

“Because I’m going to fill the backside of those britches with some lead,” he explained at another church gathering in April. “I’m going to say it to you plain: Your boy ain’t going down without swinging.”

Robinson got Trump’s endorsement, which is critical in the context of the GOP race. The former president has long admired Robinson, a supporter of his 2020 election conspiracies who met secretly with Ginni Thomas and her election denial group months after taking office as lieutenant governor.

Since the 2024 contest began, Trump has remained optimistic about Robinson, a black Republican who recently claimed to be superior to Martin Luther King, Jr.

“This is Martin Luther King on steroids,” Trump declared during a rally in Greensboro on Saturday. “I told Mark that. I think you’re better than Martin Luther King, Jr. I believe you are Martin Luther King, twice.

As one of the swing states expected to decide the presidential election, North Carolina will receive a lot of attention and money from the Biden and Trump campaigns. Biden lost the state in 2020 by less than two percentage points.

While Democrats have not won a statewide federal election in North Carolina since 2008, they have a great track record in statewide campaigns for governor and attorney general. Gov. Roy Cooper (D) is term-limited after being elected in 2016 and reelected in 2020. The state has only had a Republican governor for four of the last thirty years.

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