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GOP Senate hopeful to campaign with far-right activist who says wives shouldn't vote

Former North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker will campaign with Abby Johnson, who endorses men voting on behalf of their wives.

By Emily Singer - April 29, 2021
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Former Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC)
Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., speaks to the media following the House GOP leadership elections in the Longworth House Office Building on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

A Republican running for the North Carolina U.S. Senate seat currently held by retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr is set to host a “pro-life forum” with Abby Johnson, an anti-abortion activist who has said she supports head-of-household voting.

The Eventbright page for the event, hosted by former Rep. Mark Walker, says it will take place on May 10 in Raleigh.

Johnson tweeted her thoughts about a voting system whereby the “head of household,” generally assumed by those within right-wing and evangelical Christian circles to be a man, votes on behalf of everyone in his family, in May 2020, a few months prior to her appearance as a speaker at the Republican National Convention in August.

The 19th, a nonprofit news outlet focused on gender and politics, reported ahead of Johnson’s RNC speech that Johnson had tweeted, “What is the most controversial thing you believe?” and had answered her own question with, “I would support bringing back household voting. How anti-feminist of me.” Asked what would happen if a husband and wife had differing political views, Johnson wrote, “Then they would have to decide on one vote. In a Godly household, the husband would get the final say.”

Prior to passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, the 19th notes, one argument against extending suffrage to women was that it was unnecessary, as their husbands could vote on their behalf.

Johnson has gained celebrity status among those on the right as a former Texas Planned Parenthood employee who switched her views, telling stories of what she supposedly witnessed during her time at a clinic, including at the Republican convention. The details and accuracy of her stories, among which are tales of witnessing abortions, have been disputed.

Johnson’s views on voting rights aren’t the only controversial thing about her.

Three days before the rioting by Trump supporters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 that resulted in five deaths, Johnson promoted the rally and march that preceded it, tweeting on Jan. 3, “Meet me at marchtosaveamerica.com. I’m speaking at the #WildProtest!!! Thank you to @ali and his amazing team. Let’s do this!!!!”

She’s also advocated that people not wear masks to control the spread of the coronavirus, against the recommendations of public health experts: “The amount of people who are allowing themselves to be controlled by the government is truly astounding. Wake up, people. The sooner we stop wearing masks, the sooner we will build up immunities to fight this virus. Guess what? IT’S NOT GOING AWAY,” Johnson tweeted on May 13, 2020.

Johnson also shared her anti-vaccine views, tweeting on March 30, “It will be a frozen day in hell before I get that injected into my body.”

Walker, who did not seek reelection to his House seat in 2020 after redistricting turned it more Democratic, has caused controversies of his own. A Southern Baptist pastor, Walker was tapped in 2018 to help find a new House chaplain, but drew criticism after he said, “I’m looking for somebody who has a little age, that has adult children, that kind of can connect with the bulk of the body here, Republicans and Democrats who are going through, back home the wife, the family,” thereby effectively eliminating the possibility of a Catholic priest holding the position.

Walker is one of roughly a half-dozen Republicans running in the primary for the North Carolina Senate seat. Others include former Gov. Pat McCrory, who lost reelection in 2016 to Democrat Roy Cooper, and Rep. Ted Budd.

Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara, who is married to Eric Trump, is also considering a bid, but has yet to announce.

The seat is a top Democratic pick-up opportunity in the 2022 midterms. Trump carried the state by just 1.3 points in 2020, down from the 3.6 points he won it by four years earlier.

Democrats running for the seat include former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley and state Sen. Jeff Jackson.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report currently rates the race a toss-up.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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