Greensboro’s Mark Robinson, one-time Papa John’s employee and current lieutenant governor of North Carolina, comes to the end of his term this year. And he refuses to go away.

He is currently the front-runner for the 2024 governor’s race on the Republican ticket. And that is really saying something, as he’s running for the nomination against two seasoned GOP politicos: current NC Treasurer Dale Folwell — who started his career in the NC House in 2011, and former congressman Mark Walker — who has been involved in politics since 2012, when the local tea party group, Conservatives for Guilford County, was formed at Lawndale Baptist Church ,where he served as assistant pastor, and catapulted him into Congress.

This stint as lieutenant governor is Robinson’s first foray into electoral politics, cruising into the seat on momentum from his infamously pugnacious 3-minute comment from the floor at a Greensboro City Council meeting in 2018 and the slew of right-wind media appearances that followed.

Does anyone remember what Robinson was complaining about that day five years ago? He was angry because city leaders had decided to cancel the gun show at the city-owned Greensboro Coliseum in the wake of the Parkland shooting, which had happened just a couple months prior.

Since then his popularity among gun fetishists has risen almost as quickly as the rates of gun violence in this country.

He’s doubled down on the gun stuff since then, but backed off the abortion issue — probably because it is one thing, besides the fact that he is Black, that separates him policy-wise from Folwell and Walker. And he’s leaning hard into anti-LBGTQIA2S+ rhetoric, which he’s hoping will be enough to get him through the primary.

Some examples:

● “There’s no reason anybody, anywhere in America should be telling children about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth. And yes, I called it filth.” — Fayetteville Observer

● “We have pushed homosexuality over the top. Mark my words PEDOPHILIA is next, which will be closely followed by the END of civilization as we know it.” — Facebook

● “No one, not a famous actor, powerful politician, nor ‘mega’ Pastor, can change my mind or, more importantly, change THE WORD OF GOD. That word calls the behavior of this satanic cult of sexual perversion an ABOMINATION… and that’s what I call it as well.” — Facebook

● “Makes me sick every time I see it, when I pass a church that flies that rainbow flag, which is a direct spit in the face to God Almighty.” — WSOC

● “The transgender movement in this country, if there’s a movement in this country that is demonic and that is full of spirit of the antichrist, it is the transgender movement.” — WGHP

● “Everything that God made from the foul odor of what the cow left behind, to the decaying body of every live living creature, to the maggots that eat those dead bodies, to the flies that fly around what the cow left. God made all those things for a purpose. Will somebody please explain to me the purpose of homosexuality? […] What is the purpose of homosexuality? What does it create?” — WRAL

The bad news is: It’s working. As of May, he was polling 5 points ahead of Walker and 8 points ahead of Folwell, according to a Civitas poll, and the only one projected to beat likely Democrat candidate Josh Stein, currently the state’s attorney general.

And while it’s difficult for reasonable people to see Robinson as the next governor of NC, we’re here to tell you that not only is it possible, he’s actually got a pretty good shot. Yes, he’s loathsome, belligerent, uninformed and cartoonish. But then, we said the same things about Trump, and look where that got us.

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