NC state Democratic lawmaker switching party affiliation, State representative Paul Tine of Kitty Hawk, Fiscal conservative, Disenchantment with state Democratic Party, Democrats increasingly moved to the left
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From the News Observer January 7, 2015.
“State Democratic lawmaker switching party affiliation”
“In an unusual move announced Wednesday, state Rep. Paul Tine of Kitty Hawk is changing his party affiliation from Democrat to unaffiliated in hopes of getting more done for his district in the upcoming legislative session, which begins next week.
Tine, a 43-year-old insurance company owner, would become the only unaffiliated member of the General Assembly. He said Wednesday in an interview with the Insider that he also hoped to participate in Republican House caucus meetings throughout the session, meaning he would have a front-row seat as the GOP majority discussed proposed legislation and other issues behind closed doors. House Republicans are expected to decide Friday whether to allow him to participate, but the House leadership is on board and the vote appears to be a formality.
His switch to unaffiliated would leave Democrats with only 45 of 120 seats in the House.
Tine said he believed siding with Republicans would help him better represent his district and be part of shaping legislation rather than reacting to it. He begins his second House term next week, representing four heavily Republican counties in eastern North Carolina – Dare, Hyde, Washington and part of Beaufort. He said the district has significant poverty, transportation and education issues, along with high homeowners’ insurance rates.
“As an independent that is working with the Republican majority, I think I can get more done for a district that needs a lot of attention,” he said.
Tine, who has been a registered Democrat since age 18, considers himself fiscally conservative and a moderate legislator who believes government should stay out of people’s lives as much as possible. He expressed disenchantment with the state Democratic Party, which lost legislative majorities four years ago and since then has had well-documented troubles in leadership and in trying to win back state legislative seats. Tine suggested the party has increasingly moved to the left and that he no longer feels at home there.”