North Carolina Republican delegates voted Saturday to censure U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis for allegedly straying from conservative values with his stances on immigration and LGBTQ+ rights.
At the state party’s annual convention in Greensboro, delegates accused the senator of violating key principles of the Republican platform. The censure needed two-thirds majority to pass, and there were 1,801 voting delegates present.
Tillis, who has served in the Senate since 2015, is known for his willingness to compromise with Democrats on issues such as immigration, gun violence and LGBTQ+ rights. He worked on the Respect For Marriage Act last year, which gave federal protections to interracial and same-sex marriages.
Tillis also supported funding for red flag laws, which give state courts power to remove firearms from people who may pose a threat to others or themselves.
“We need people who are unwavering in their support for conservative ideals,” 81-year-old delegate Jim Forster told the Associated Press. “His recent actions don’t reflect the party’s shift to the right – in fact, they’re moving in the exact wrong direction.”
But other delegates disagreed with the censure, fearing it would divide Republicans further. State Senator Jim Burgin told the Associated Press that the vote sets a dangerous precedent for the party.
“I believe that a mob mentality doesn’t do us any good,” North Carolina State Senator Bobby Hanig argued. “Senator Tillis does a lot for North Carolina, he does a lot for the coastal communities, so why would I want to make him mad?”
Tillis spokesperson Daniel Keylin defended the senator’s conservatism to Fox News Digital, citing his support for conservative legislation.
“He will never apologize for his work passing the largest tax cut in history, introducing legislation to secure the border and end sanctuary cities, delivering desperately-needed funding to strengthen school safety and protecting the rights of churches to worship freely based on their belief in traditional marriage,” Keylin said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.