Race for Lt. Governor: Historic, Controversial
By Cash Michaels
On November 3rd, North Carolinians will make history by electing their first African American lieutenant governor ever, the second highest state official designated to step in for the governor when needed. It will either be Democrat Rep. Yvonne Lewis Holley of Raleigh, or Republican Mark Robinson of Greensboro.
And while, by most accounts, Rep. Lewis-Holley is expected to win, it is Robinson who is making the race most notable with his usually outspoken conservative frankness that arguably runs counter to most of North Carolina’s Democratic-leaning African American voters.
Rep. Lewis-Holley has served four terms in the N.C. General Assembly over the past eight years. She proudly considers herself progressive politically, and a staunch advocate for civil rights, women’s rights, criminal justice reform, gun reform and preserving the environment. The daughter of legendary WRAL-TV Black broadcasting pioneer J.D. Lewis, Rep. Lewis Holley also believes strongly in fighting systemic racism, helping the poor, and creating job and small business opportunities for those who want to improve their lot in life. She is also a strong supporter of Governor Roy Cooper and gives him high marks for managing the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
Republican Mark Robinson, who criticizes Cooper’s handling of the pandemic, is literally the opposite and his supporters like him that way.
The ninth of ten children, Robinson was born and raised in Greensboro. He has served in the Army Reserves as a medical specialist, has been a small business owner, and a factory worker. He and his wife are the parents of two children.
So how did Robinson end up running for the state’s second highest office?
It was April of 2018, when citizen Mark Robinson appeared before the Greensboro City Council, and delivered a fiery and much lauded pro-gun rights speech that captured the hearts and minds of Republicans statewide. Indeed, when Robinson ran in the March GOP primary, he finished first out of a large file of professional Republican politicians, shocking the political establishment.
The rest is history. Taking a page from his party’s leader, Pres. Donald Trump, the religious and political conservative has been spectacularly outspoken on everything from how “satanic or Jewish movie producers” run Hollywood, to former First Lady Michelle Obama being a man.
Indeed, when Robinson isn’t sharing his explosive personal insights in numerous speeches across the state, he pines prolifically on his Facebook page, so much so that North Carolina’s news media has picked up on it, and have portrayed Robinson as a Black conservative gun-loving right-winger who is in lockstep with Pres. Trump and his party’s most outlandish extremists.
Could Robinson get some of the state’s loyal Black Democrat vote? It’s possible…just as long as not too many read his Facebook post from 2018, “…half of Black Democrats don't realize they are slaves and don't know who their masters are. The other half don't care."
And many of them, who rail against police brutality and social injustice, would also be less than charmed with Robinson’s view that there is no such thing as systemic racism. Or that he feels that beloved former Pres. Barack Obama “is a worthless, anti-American atheist who wanted to bring this nation to its knees, then raise it back to its feet as a European style socialist hell hole.”
Robinson even took time to criticize the highly popular 2018 superhero movie “Black Panther,” all because it gave Black audiences a fantasy.
With Robinson bashing everyone from socialists to homosexuals, the question is not how many of the Black votes will he get compared to Democrat Lewis-Holley, because the answer to that is almost academic.
The question is how much of the Trump-Republican base across the state he gets given that the president is currently neck-and-neck with Democrat Joe Biden in the top-of-the-ballot contest.
As unsavory as Mark Robinson’s views are, observers warn that in this current political atmosphere, he is just as likely to win as his Democrat opponent.
The answer may come on Nov. 3rd.