Featured photo: Rep. Tricia Cotham

We hate it when the NY Times parachutes into North Carolina and acts like they know everything. But this week’s NYT piece on the election — and defection — of Rep. Tricia Cotham (R-Mecklenberg) hits a lot of solid notes, and uncovers some facts that reporters on the ground in NC missed.

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From the piece: “[W]hat was unusual — and not publicly known at the time — was that the influential people who had privately encouraged Ms. Cotham to run were Republicans, not Democrats.”

Sure, we all suspected that this was a GOP scheme from the beginning. But now we know she and her cronies likely planned this the whole time.

And it underscores the fact that these are untrustworthy people.

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There is a legal term known as “bad faith” used to describe such actions. Black’s Law Dictionary defines it as “generally implying or involving actual or constructive fraud, or a design to mislead or deceive another, or a neglect or refusal to fulfill some duty or some contractual obligation, not prompted by an honest mistake as to one’s rights or duties, but by some interested or sinister motive.”

There is little question as to whether Cotham acted in bad faith by raising campaign funds to fight abortion restrictions and by accepting the Democrat nomination for the very blue District 112. Her very first act as a Republican was casting the deciding vote to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of an abortion ban in the state.

According to the NY Times, Cotham is willing to return campaign contributions made on the basis of her since-detracted stance on abortion in NC. But that’s not enough.

In contract law, bad faith alone is not enough to void a contract but it is considered a breach of contract, exposing the bad actor to legal action in the form of a lawsuit. That means her contributors could likely sue her for the return of their funds if she had not pledged to return them.

But what of the people who voted for her on that basis? Can they sue to reclaim their votes — both in the primary, where she defeated two other Democrats, and in the general election, which she won by almost 20 points?

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Probably not. She’ll have to face those voters again, though, if she decides to run for re-election. That is, unless her new Republican friends cut her a new, GOP-friendly district, where bad faith is seen as virtue and not vice.

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