Group of N.C. Republicans come out in support of Joe Biden

Updated: Aug. 26, 2020 at 11:47 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTV/AP) - A group of North Carolina Republicans are joining a growing list of politicians and voters across the country who are blurring party lines ahead of the 2020 Presidential Election.

“North Carolina Republicans for Biden” is part of a national effort officials say is aimed at engaging Republicans who are supporting Democratic nominee Joe Biden for president, instead of voting to re-elect President Donald Trump.

Among the list of Republican politicians announcing their support of Biden are former N.C. Supreme Court Associate Justice Robert “Bob” Orr, former state Representative Charles Jeter, Transylvania County Board of Commissioners Chair Mike Hawkins and Transylvania County Board of Commissioners Vice-Chair Page Lemel.

Jeter, who resides in Mecklenburg County, spoke to WBTV in a Zoom interview Wednesday afternoon, explaining his decision to vote against President Trump.

“He is doing everything he can to fundamentally alter the character of this nation and I fear he could do irreparable damage,” said Jeter.

The former state representative said he doesn’t like the way the President has treated the country and the American public. Jeter said he has taken issue with the way the President has handled trade agreements, and doesn’t like the way Trump has dealt with undocumented immigrants in America.

Jeter said he doesn’t agree with everything Joe Biden hopes to do, but would rather have the former Vice President in office.

“This is a man who’s proven to trust the experts. This is a man whose proven he knows how to govern, and in a time of so many challenges, our nation needs to return to a common, decent man or woman running the place with a steady hand,” explained Jeter.

He admitted that he also voted against President Trump in the 2016 election.

“I make no apologies for my vote in 2016. What I make an apology for, is I did it quietly,” said Jeter. “I did it alone. I did it in secret. I’m not making that mistake this time.”

The former representative said he is not worried about the backlash he may face from other Republicans.

“I’m not willing to sell my soul and I’m not gonna do that and if that causes backlash, I promise you I’ll sleep well at night,” said Jeter.

It’s not just politicians who are joining the movement.

N.C. voter Jay Copan told The Independent in a recent interview that he voted for President Trump in the 2016 election. He now says he believes Joe Biden is a better option.

“Change is our only option this November. We cannot continue with the way things are,” Copan said. “Donald Trump is a threat to our country and our democracy, and his supporters have turned a blind eye to dangerous and unconstitutional efforts. Joe Biden is a kind and decent man who has led with faith and empathy throughout his career. This November, I will be voting for Joe Biden because our country cannot take four more years of Donald Trump.”

WBTV reached out to the NCGOP for comment, and was referred to the President’s campaign for a statement.

“Low-level losers do not concern us,” Trump Victory Spokesperson Gates McGavick wrote. “The President has record support from Republicans and will be re-elected in November.”

Earlier in the week on Monday, former GOP Senator Jeff Flake endorsed Biden as well. He was one of President Trump’s most consistent Republican critics in the Senate, and even penned an Op Ed in The Washington Post in support of Trump’s impeachment.

Flake is one of more than two dozen former Republican lawmakers to announce their support for “Republicans for Biden.” Former Reps. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, Jim Greenwood of Pennsylvania, Jim Leach of Iowa, and Sen. John Warner of Virginia are among former Republican lawmakers who also have endorsed Biden.

Copyright 2020 WBTV. All rights reserved. The Associated Press Contributed to this report.