Speaker of the House Designee Tim Moore and incoming House Majority Leader Mike Hager released the following statement this afternoon regarding Representative Paul Tine’s recent decision to end his affiliation with the Democrat Party and caucus with House Republicans:
The North Carolina Republican House Caucus has admitted Representative Paul Tine of North Carolina House District 6 as a member. Representative Tine, formerly a registered Democrat, is changing his voter registration to unaffiliated.
“The House Republican Caucus welcomes Representative Tine and looks forward to adding his voice as we address the important issues facing North Carolinians. The inclusion of Representative Tine reflects the continuing positive momentum of our Caucus as we head into the upcoming legislative session” said House Speaker-Designee Tim Moore (R-Cleveland).
“The House Republicans are excited to welcome Rep. Tine,” said House Republican Majority Leader Representative Mike Hager (R-Rutherford). “I think he will make a great addition. As Speaker-Designee Moore mentioned, this does reflect the positive momentum of the Caucus.”
Representative Tine, a small business owner from Dare County, will be serving his second term in the General Assembly and is the latest in a long list of elected officials who have decided that the Democrat Party is no longer a good fit. Curiously, Representative Tine was challenged for his seat in 2012 by a candidate who also left the Democrat party.
Perhaps the most famous party switch in recent memory was that of Louisiana Senator Elbert Guillory, who also left the Democrat party and became a Republican. Last year, Senator Guillory was an outspoken supporter of newly-minted Senator Thom Tillis, who served as the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives from 2011 to 2014.
Representative Tine’s decision to leave the Democrat party effectively increases the post-election balance of power in the House to a 75-45 Republican supermajority. The state Senate is also controlled by a Republican supermajority — although by an even wider margin at 34-16. And we’re hearing around the Legislative Building that there may be more to come.
Meanwhile, John Wynne over at Politics North Carolina awarded House Democrats his first “Worst Week in Raleigh” award “for losing one of your own to the other party before the legislative session even begins.” Observes Mr. Wynne:
“Tine’s departure and the potential for other party-switchers could accelerate the leftward movement of the state Democratic Party, the support of which is increasingly confined to minorities and wealthy white liberals, a coalition which presently is too narrow to command a statewide majority. Dallas Woodhouse chimed in yesterday and noted that despite millions of dollars spent and all the Moral Monday rallies, Democrats managed to pick up a net of only two seats in the General Assembly in the last election. The conversion of Paul brings that total to one.”
The 2015-2016 Biennium of the General Assembly convenes on Wednesday, January 14 at 9:00 am.
We wish them all Godspeed.