Dems Walk Out as North Carolina GOP Picks Jan. 6 Participant to Fill Vacant Seat

Dozens of Democratic lawmakers in North Carolina’s state House of Representatives walked off the chamber floor in protest Monday night after Republicans seated Donnie Loftis, who has admitted to participating in the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol building.

Loftis, a Trump loyalist and 30-year combat veteran who now represents Gaston as a member of the state House, was nominated by county representatives to fill a vacancy that occurred due to a death of the previous lawmaker from that area. Earlier this year, Loftis resigned from chairing a board of directors for a local health care system after his social media posts describing business closures due to COVID-19 as “tyranny” became public knowledge.

Loftis has admitted that he was at the Capitol on the day of the attack, which was perpetrated by a mob of loyalists to former President Donald Trump — even stating in social media posts he has since deleted that it was his duty to be there that day. Of course, the continued claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election made by Trump and his followers are completely baseless.

Loftis has since claimed that he didn’t take part in any violent actions that day, saying he was merely “at the entrance” of the building “when they breached the door.” The Republican lawmaker also said he was gassed three times during the January 6 attack.

In October, Republicans in the legislature said they would approve Loftis’s appointment to the vacancy, with House Speaker Tim Moore (R) justifying this decision by claiming that the FBI never pursued Loftis for his involvement in the attack. State law does not require a new election to fill the position.

Rather than participate in the vote, which Republicans could do on their own due to having a majority in the chamber, more than 40 Democrats walked off the House floor in protest, leaving just six of their members in the room for the vote.

Democratic Party Chairwoman Bobbie Richardson condemned Republicans for appointing Loftis to the position.

“Today marks a new low for General Assembly Republicans because, instead of condemning those actions and rejecting the rhetoric that incites violence, they are welcoming a Capitol insurrection participant with open arms,” Richardson said in a statement. “The Republican Party hand-picked Loftis to join their ranks, further demonstrating how trending towards extremism is the future of the North Carolina Republican Party.”