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Ballot bites: Graham garners a big endorsement in governor’s race, Robinson looks to ‘Trump’ it

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Ballot bites: Graham garners a big endorsement in governor’s race, Robinson looks to ‘Trump’ it

Dec 11, 2023 | 6:00 am ET
By Staff
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Ballot bites: Graham garners a big endorsement in governor’s race, Robinson looks to ‘Trump’ it
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Salisbury attorney and businessman Bill Graham won the endorsement of U.S. Senator Thom Tillis over Lt. Governor Mark Robinson. (File photos)

Candidate filing for the 2024 elections continues this week, and we can expect to see several more candidates submit their paperwork in the governor’s race.

Among the Democrats, Mike Morgan, Chrelle Booker, and Marcus W. Williams entered the contest last week. This week we are looking for Attorney General Josh Stein to join them.

On the Republican side, only state Treasurer Dale Folwell filed paperwork for the governor’s race last week. Lt. Governor Mark Robinson, wealthy businessman Bill Graham, and state Senator Andy Wells are expected to join Folwell this week.

Senator Thom Tillis
U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (File photo)

Graham, a Sailsbury attorney, closed out last week with a major endorsement from U.S. Senator Thom Tillis. Tillis told the National Review that “looking at two resumes and there’s a stark contrast in capabilities.”

Tillis said while Robinson was “a good enough guy” he simply lacks the experience to serve in the position.

“He has virtually no legislative experience, very little business experience. We’re a very, very important state and we have to have people with that kind of experience, I think, to continue this track record that we’ve had since Republicans took control of North Carolina when I became speaker. And so for those reasons, I’ve decided to support Bill [Graham].”

Tillis’ frank assessment in the national publication clearly angered Robinson, who called the state’s senior senator North Carolina’s version of Mitt Romney.

“The RINOs are coming after me. Bill Graham is nothing but a pawn who’s been suckered into spending millions of his own money on a personal vendetta against me that’s being driven by consultants and a RINO senator who was censured by his own party,” Robinson shared in a lengthy post on social media.

“The real reason is they don’t like that I haven’t ‘paid my dues’. They don’t think that average people should be in government,” Robinson continued.

Earlier this month in Davie County, Robinson suggested that Jesus Christ would return one day with vengeance for his political enemies.

This Tuesday, Robinson will be back in the spotlight attending a ‘special event’ at Mar-a-Lago with former president Donald Trump. The Robinson campaign is hoping that this is the moment that Trump officially endorses Robinson. Robinson gave his endorsement to Trump back in June, after initially saying he wasn’t ready to endorse anyone.

The National Review, which broke the story of the Mar-a-Lago event, reported last month the price to attend is $6,400 for sponsors with individual ticket prices set at $1,000.

For his part, Graham has pledged to spend $5 million of his own money to win the race in 2024.

Treasurer Folwell said in a statement he would the best governor “that money can’t buy” with a campaign that’s “grounded in trust, accountability, and a vision for a better North Carolina.”

“Ballot bites” is a recurring feature by NC Newsline that will appear periodically throughout the 2024 elections.