Speculation is rising in the North Carolina legislature that a Democrat is about to switch parties and give Republicans a complete veto-proof majority in the General Assembly, a move that could affect legislation on immigration, abortion and voting.
The GOP scheduled a Wednesday news conference at party headquarters with Rep. Tricia Cotham of Mecklenburg County. House Speaker Tim Moore said Tuesday that Cotham and chamber leaders will “make a major announcement.”
If the Democrat does switch parties, it would be a major political setback for Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and allies in their attempts to block conservative initiatives during the governor’s final two years in office.
It could make it easier for Republicans to enact bills that would force sheriffs to cooperate with federal immigration agents and prevent counting absentee ballots received after Election Day. The GOP is also debating if and how to place further restrictions on abortion.
While Republicans already hold the 30 Senate seats needed to override vetoes, they have been one seat shy of a similar advantage in the House since the November elections. Cooper made preventing supermajorities his top campaign priority last fall.