DG MARTIN COLUMN: Candidates who help the other side

What did the Democrats in Ohio do in the recent Republican U.S. Senate primary that North Carolina Democrats did not have to do?

D.G. Martin

Answer: It is complicated, but in simple terms the Ohio Democrats gave a boost to one Republican candidate, Bernie Moreno, a former car dealer who had the endorsement of Donald Trump.

Moreno’s opponents in the primary were State Sen. Matt Dolan, whose family is a majority owner of the Cleveland Guardians baseball team, and Frank LaRose, Ohio’s secretary of state.

Dolan had the active support of Republican Gov. Mike DeWine.

The Democratic candidate is incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown, who had no primary opposition. He is the only Democrat to hold elective statewide office in Ohio and Democrats are pulling out the stops to help him win reelection.

They determined that Brown would have a better chance beating the Trump-supported Moreno than he would against Dolan or LaRose.

So, at the end of the primary campaign, the Democratic Senate Majority PAC sponsored ads in favor of Moreno.
Democrats were arm-in-arm with Trump supporters for a minute.

Then, once Moreno had won the nomination, they turned on him.

According to The New York Times, the same Democratic PAC “immediately castigated the candidate it had elevated, saying in a statement that Mr. Moreno ‘won’t be able to hide from the fact that he is a shady car salesman.’ The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee attacked him immediately as well, recycling videos of attacks from Mr. Dolan and Mr. LaRose that tarred the newly minted nominee as an untrustworthy, corrupt extremist.”

Meanwhile in North Carolina, the Republican primary has delivered two candidates for important offices whose positions may help motivate Democratic voters to go to the polls.

In North Carolina most Democrats believe that they would have a harder time winning the governor’s race against state Treasurer Dale Folwell or Salisbury attorney Bill Graham than Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson who beat both in the Republican gubernatorial primary.

Although Robinson handily won the Republican nomination for governor and his positions appeal to a number of people, they are beyond the pale for many.

Some of these positions have been summarized by a pro-Democratic group, “Donate to Defeat Mark Robinson,” as follows:

Abortion: “Once you make a baby, it’s not your body anymore — it’s [the public’s] body.” [WRAL NEWS]

Anti Semitism: “This foolishness about Hitler disarming MILLIONS of Jews and then marching them off to concentration camps is a bunch of hogwash.” [Mark Robinson’s Facebook]

Black Americans: “African Americans love to kill each other and have no problem embracing deviant, hypersexual behavior.” [Mark Robinson’s Facebook]

Climate Change: “I’m sick of these lies about global warming. Stop talking to me about climate change. I know the climate changes, it happens four times a year, it’s called seasons!” [Mark Robinson speech]

Guns: “I got them AR-15s at home, and I like to go target shooting and all that. But that’s not what they’re there for… I got them AR-15s in case the government gets too big for his britches cause I’m gonna fill the backside of them britches with some lead.” [WRAL NEWS]

LGBTQ+People: “There’s no reason anybody anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth.” [CNN]

Meanwhile the Republican nominee for Superintendent of Public Instruction must face reports by CNN: “The Republican nominee for superintendent overseeing North Carolina’s public schools and its $11 billion budget has a history marked by extreme and controversial comments, including sharing baseless conspiracy theories and frequent calls for the execution of prominent Democrats.

“Michele Morrow, a conservative activist who upset the incumbent Superintendent of Public Instruction in North Carolina’s Republican primary, expressed support in 2020 for the televised execution of former President Barack Obama and suggested killing then-President-elect Joe Biden.

“In other comments on social media between 2019 and 2021 reviewed by CNN’s KFile, Morrow made disturbing suggestions about executing prominent Democrats for treason, including Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Hillary Clinton, Sen. Chuck Schumer and other prominent people.”

Like Bernie Moreno in Ohio, Mark Robinson and Michele Morrow may be blessings in disguise for Democrats.

D.G. Martin, a retired lawyer, served as UNC-System’s vice president for public affairs and hosted PBS-NC’s “North Carolina Bookwatch.”