State GOP Punishes Tillis Over Votes

North Carolina convention censures senior senator for bucking party line
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2023 4:00 PM CDT
State GOP Punishes Tillis Over Votes
Sen. Thom Tillis speaks on Capitol Hill in February.   (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)

At their state convention on Saturday, North Carolina Republicans voted to censure their senior US senator over votes delegates said didn't follow the party line. Sen. Thom Tillis' record on abortion issues was the biggest concern, the News & Observer reports. "We believe that you're—you have a viable life from the time of conception," Steve Carter said. "That's what the Bible says." Judy Carter, his wife and a party activist, said the message to the GOP senator is "we want you to remember who voted for you." Wayne King, a former vice chairman of the state party, called the the censure "shameful."

"This sends a terrible message to independents," King said, that the North Carolina party "doesn’t welcome anyone who doesn't abide by every word of a party platform that only a few thousand delegates voted on." He said such actions could turn the state Democratic. Other points of contention are gun safety legislation, immigration, and gay marriage. Several delegates at the convention in Greensboro attacked Tillis over his support for last year's Respect for Marriage Act, which placed protections for same-sex and interracial marriages in federal law, per the AP. He lobbied GOP colleagues to vote for the measure.

The national and state party platforms oppose same-sex marriage, but Tillis is known for being willing to work with Democrats, which has increased his clout in Congress. The censure vote, which took place behind closed doors, requires a two-thirds majority. It has no effect on his term in office. A spokesperson listed several causes supported by the party that the senator has worked for, including tax and border issues. Tillis "keeps his promises and delivers results," Daniel Keylin said. A state lawmaker at the convention said dividing the party as elections approach is a bad idea. "Sen. Tillis does a lot for North Carolina," Sen. Bobby Hanig said, adding, "so why would I want to make him mad?" (More Thom Tillis stories.)

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