To members of the Old North State’s Republican Party: Whatever you do on May 6, our state’s primary election, please, please, pretty please, for the love of all that is holy and good, do not vote for Mark Harris.

Pastor-turned-politician Harris is on the ballot in your Republican U.S. Senate primary. He has several opponents, chief among them state House Speaker Thom Tillis, Dr. Greg Brannon and Army Nurse Corps veteran Heather Grant. Vote for one of them. Pass right over Harris’ name and vote for one of them.

Harris, pastor of Charlotte’s First Baptist Church, isn’t deserving of your vote. He’s used his pulpit, his leadership of the state Baptist convention and his role as a chief proponent of anti-LGBT discrimination to denigrate, demean, discriminate and divide. The people of this state — the people of your party — deserve a better representative. And, yes, I know many of you will disagree with me, but for your fellow North Carolinians who are LGBT, especially, Harris represents a harmful, regressive agenda that seeks to not only infringe on our equality, but may also very well infringe upon your own.

See, Harris is an extremist. In every sense of the word, he is an extremist. There’s no other word to describe a man who buddies up with known hate-group leaders like the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and uses the holy name of our Lord to advocate for totalitarian governmental control of people’s lives and bodies.

This is not just about Amendment One, our state’s 2012 constitutional amendment that discriminates against your fellow LGBT citizens. It’s about much more. A potential Senator Harris is quite a scary prospect, indeed — single women stripped of access to reproductive healthcare, low-income families denied access to affordable health services, immigrants put under the microscope of an oppressive government-sanctioned hyper-vigilantism fueled by xenophobia, public school children denied resources as public money flows to private, religiously-based schools. The list of people and communities targeted by Harris’ far-right ideologies is miles long. You should be worried. He’s already come after your gay neighbors, siblings, cousins and co-workers. He’s proven that his voice and pulpit are mere means to a scary, oppressive end.

I believe in you, my lovely Republican Tar Heels. I believe you have the capacity to understand right from wrong, good from evil, love from hate, lamb from wolf, prophet from profiteer, righteous from self-righteous. I believe you can look at Harris and see through the plastic hair and smile, straight into the depths of a soul that has not love, but rather division and fear at its heart.

See, we Democrats have had plenty of disagreements with you Republicans. But, at our very core, I believe we all love this state, we are all patriots, we are all loyal to the ideals and principles upon which our republic is built. Harris is the complete antithesis to everything we hold dear. He doesn’t represent the North Carolina values we know and cherish. Quite simply, he’s the wrong choice.

On May 6 — I beg and plead you — send Harris back to his Charlotte pulpit. Let him stand not in the U.S. Senate, but right back there at First Baptist Church in the witness of the Almighty and testify to his twisted, hate-mongering faith. Let him do damage to his own flock, not our entire state. Let him lead them, not all of us citizens, down the road to division.

A man so weak he uses God as a prop for his own prejudices and fears is not the kind of great and strong leader North Carolinians seek. I’m fully confident in you, fair-minded Republicans. I trust in your judgment. Don’t disappoint me. : :

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

One reply on “An open letter to North Carolina’s Republicans”

  1. Kudos, Matt… for campaigning against Harris!!! His dubious social agenda does not represent the views held by the majority of North Carolinians.

    As a registered-Republican and seasoned-political analyst…. I’ll venture that Tom Tillis is the only viable Republican contender. And, further… the incumbent, Hagan, could (easily) retain her seat provided she drop her support for the PPACA as well as go on record: as not supporting additional gun-control measures…

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