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North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein speaks outside the Supreme Court in Washington on Dec. 7, 2022.
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein speaks outside the Supreme Court in Washington on Dec. 7, 2022.Andrew Harnik / AP file

North Carolina Democratic AG attacks GOP Lt. Gov. in possible preview of gov race

The ad heavily features controversial GOP Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who is expected to run for governor as well.


North Carolina Democratic Attorney Gen. Josh Stein jumped into next year's gubernatorial race Wednesday with his eyes squared on a potential rival who hasn't even announced his own bid.

Stein's social media announcement video starts with him recounting how an office belonging to his father and other civil rights lawyers was firebombed in 1971. And it quickly connects that threat and act of violence to today's climate, including video of pro-Trump rioters storming the U.S. Capitol in 2021 and white men with tiki torches marching.

But then the video starts showing video of Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who is seen as a top GOP gubernatorial contender considering he's the highest-ranking Republican in statewide office.

"Today, there's a different set of bomb throwers who threaten our freedoms and our future, while some politicians spark division, ignite hate, and fan the flames of bigotry," Stein says before the video then starts playing clips of controversial comments by Robinson.

In one, Robinson says that "we are called to be led by men," and that God sent David to fight Goliath, "not Davita." And in another, he calls "trandsgenderism [and] homosexuality... filth."

"Robinson wants to tell you who you can marry, when you'll be pregnant and who you should hate," Stein says.

"I'm running for governor because I believe in a very different North Carolina, one rooted in our shared values of freedom, justice and opportunity for everyone."

While North Carolina hasn't voted for a Democrat for president or Senate since 2008, the party has fared better in state-level races.

Stein won his first term as Attorney General in 2016 (when the sitting Attorney General, Democrat Roy Cooper, won his first gubernatorial term). Cooper and Stein both won re-election in 2020, and Cooper is term-limited from running for governor again.