Anti-Gay? Anti-Science? Antisemitic? Run for Governor of North Carolina!
Reflections on the mess (and magic) of politics and life.
Mr. Bruni is a contributing Opinion writer who was on the staff of The Times for more than 25 years.
The 2024 governor’s race in North Carolina just got underway. You care.
Not because this state is the nation’s ninth most populous, though that’s reason enough. But because what happens here is a referendum on how low Republicans will sink and how far they can nonetheless get.
Attorney General Josh Stein of North Carolina announced his candidacy last week. At present he’s the likeliest Democratic nominee
[Stein is] a mostly conventional choice, with a long résumé of public service and unremarkable politics. I say “mostly” because he’s in one way a trailblazer. He’d be the state’s first Jewish governor.
The likeliest Republican nominee, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, is also a trailblazer. He’d be the state’s first Black governor.
But that’s the beginning, middle and end of anything forward-looking and progress-minded about him, and he’s extremism incarnate: gun-loving, gay-hating and primed for conspiracy theories, with a garnish of antisemitism to round out the plate.
Robinson hasn’t formally declared a bid, and he could face and be foiled by a primary challenge from a less provocative rival. But as Tim Funk noted in an article in The Assembly about Robinson’s flamboyantly combative speeches during Sunday worship services across the state, he was recently introduced in Charlotte as “the next governor of North Carolina.”