Robinson, Stein move on in race for governor’s office



(The Center Square) – Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson and Attorney General Josh Stein will face off for governor of North Carolina in the general election this fall.

In calls by multiiple media outlets less than 45 minutes after polls closed, Robinson won the Republican primary on Tuesday and Stein prevailed among the Democrats. Neither was a surprise, with polling and campaign finance reports indicating the duo to be the toughest to beat.

Robinson, a pioneer in being the state’s first Black lieutenant governor, would break the same ground if elected Nov. 5. Stein is following the footsteps of Gov. Roy Cooper, the former attorney general whose second consecutive term is the limit.

In unofficial voting totals with less than 3% of precincts reporting, Robinson received 63.7% of the votes to outpace state Treasurer Dale Folwell (18.8%) and lawyer Bill Graham (17.6%). Stein (75.3%) cleared former state Supreme Court Judge Mike Morgan (12.3%), and longshots and Chrelle Booker (4.9%), Marcus Williams (4.5%) and Gary Foxx (3%).

The Libertarian primary was led early by Mike Ross (62%) over Shannon Bray (38%). The Green Party’s Wayne Turner is the fourth name on the ballot.

Since Daniel Lindsay Russell was in the governor’s office from 1897-1901, North Carolinians have elected 23 Democrats. James Holshouser (1973-77), Jim Martin (1985-93) and Pat McCrory (2013-17) are the only exceptions to the nearly 125-year trend.

Former President Donald Trump’s gaffe at his rally in Greensboro on Saturday was no bother for he or Robinson in the voting results. In addition to Robinson winning, Trump was declared a winner over Nikki Haley and led 74.3%-22.8% in the Republican presidential primary; President Joe Biden won the Democratic primary with 90.5% of the votes ahead of “no preference” (9.5%). The Democratic Party did not ask to have ahead of U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips on the ballot.

Trump on Saturday tried to tell the story of Robinson’s ascent in the party, from no elected office to lieutenant governor. He said Robinson drove a forklift, and said, “I guess he was complaining about taxes in his town, and he got up and he made a speech. And they didn’t care too much about what he said. They just said, ‘This is the greatest speaker we’ve ever heard. Would you like to run for lieutenant governor or something?’”

Robinson rocketed into the state’s political spotlight following a viral 2018 video at a Greensboro City Council meeting. His complaint was tied to the Second Amendment, leading to a position on the National Rifle Association’s National Outreach Board and a featured spot in a Trump campaign advertisement for gun rights.

Robinson has campaigned on abortion law, that life begins once an ultrasound first detects fetal cardiac activity; shares his faith; supports school safety measures and law enforcement; and wants to help curb inflation.

Stein was first among all parties to announce his candidacy more than a year ago. His campaign stumping runs the expected talking points of his party, and ties to successful litigation on behalf of the state.

He’s been a strong ally of Cooper when the governor has used the litigation route – a road well-traveled – to go against the 170-member General Assembly that has majority Republican chambers.

His campaign has chosen to highlight his legal wins in cases involving opioids; untested rape kits; defense of women’s access to reproductive health care; public education; vaping; coal ash cleanup; and chemical pollution in the Cape Fear River.

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