October 17, 2021

How Mark Robinson Beat Bloomberg’s Billions to Win North Carolina’s Second-Highest Office

As one of 10 children growing up in extreme poverty in Greensboro, North Carolina, Mark Robinson has defied a lot of odds in life: an alcoholic and abusive father, foster care stints and an overwhelmed single mother.

After joining the Army Reserves right out of high school, he married and had two children while drifting through various jobs making furniture, a profession that kept evaporating as each plant he worked for relocated to Mexico.

In 2018, he attended Greensboro’s city council meeting to voice his frustration over the town’s decision to ban a local gun show and found himself giving an off-the-cuff yet deeply impassioned speech. Despite not owning a gun at the time, Robinson argued for four minutes in defense of the Second Amendment and ended up garnering national attention. This year, with few resources and no electoral experience, Robinson became the first black lieutenant governor-elect of North Carolina.

“I didn’t expect the reaction that I received from that speech,” Robinson said. “I thought maybe a couple of friends would see it and that was about it. When it went viral …?a lot of people encouraged me to get a radio show and things of that sort.”

But he decided against courting fame, because “in order to affect real change, there’s no better place to do that than in the political arena.”

So, Robinson ran for lieutenant governor, and became the first black Republican to win a major seat in the state since the 1890s. He also earned more votes in his state than the two top Republicans on the ticket: President Donald Trump and Sen. Thom Tillis, and nearly as many as Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who will now have a member of the Republican Party as his second-in-command. If Cooper is successful in his rumored run for U.S. Senate in 2022, Robinson will ascend to the state’s highest office.

Robinson’s win is astounding for any number of reasons, but especially because he managed to beat the $8 million spent by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his state to take him out.

The funds came via the Beyond Carbon Victory Fund, an environmental justice campaign Bloomberg launched last year that boasts a $500 million budget dedicated to electing state and local candidates “who are climate champions.”

In his upcoming role as the new lieutenant governor, Robinson will chair North Carolina’s energy council.

On Bloomberg’s bid to turn his ticket blue, Robinson is matter-of-fact.

“Just because you have money, that money does not always translate into votes,” he said. “Our message was simple: We’re 100 percent pro-life; we stand up for our Second Amendment, our God-given right to self-defense, school choice, caring for our veterans and standing up for law enforcement and law and order.

“You just can’t sway people because you want them to think the way you do. People see right through that.”

In short, Robinson was just a guy who resonated with people, connecting with them on issues they face every day. His message might have ruffled the feathers of the politically correct, but no one could ever doubt its authenticity. He never assumed he knew better, a mistake Bloomberg made with both his fly-by-night run for president and his push for more progressive candidates in smaller races across the country.

“If Michael Bloomberg’s failure to have any impact on the 2020 race tells us anything, it shows message and messenger are more important than money,” said Paul Sracic, a political science professor at Youngstown State University.

Bloomberg also came up short in two other down-ballot races in 2020. Despite pouring $2.5 million of Beyond Carbon funds into Democrat Chrysta Castaneda’s bid for a seat on the Texas Railroad Commission, she lost — helping cement decades of GOP power on the energy-regulating board. And even with his $6.5 million drive to put three progressive candidates onto the Arizona Corporation Commission, which regulates the state’s utilities, only one Democrat was successful, allowing Republicans to hold their majority.

Bloomberg dumped another $100?million into Florida through his Independence USA PAC to grease the wheels for Biden and down-ballot Democrats, only to see the needle move backward for his party in that state. Not only did Trump get 1 million more votes in Florida than he did in 2016, but Republicans also expanded their majorities in both state chambers while ousting two Democrats from congressional seats in the Miami-Dade area.

Meanwhile, the $60 million Bloomberg spent to support Democrats in House races across the country gained the party nothing. No Republican incumbent lost a seat in the House of Representatives, and the Democrats lost at least a dozen seats in the lower chamber to GOP challengers.

Even the $60 million Bloomberg spent pushing gun-control candidates through his organization Everytown for Gun Safety had little to no effect. This year saw a record for new gun ownership in America: almost 5 million people are new gun owners, with 40% of them women.

Bloomberg’s spokespeople did not return calls for comment, but one of his top political advisers, Kevin Sheekey, told the Associated Press last month: “At the end of the day, a win is a win and Joe Biden will take office in January and Donald Trump will leave. We feel quite good about … the end result.”

At the same time, there is no denying that Bloomberg’s Goliath attempts to conquer every level of American politics this year fell to scores of Davids across the country — including Mark Robinson.

“I chuckled to myself about this on more than one occasion,” Robinson said. “Michael Bloomberg lives in an ivory tower in one of the greatest cities in the world. This guy has billions of dollars and here he is trying to take out little old Mark Robinson. It really is bizarre and if you wrote this as a movie, nobody would believe it. But here we are.”

Salena Zito is a CNN political analyst, and a staff reporter and columnist for the Washington Examiner. She reaches the Everyman and Everywoman through shoe-leather journalism, traveling from Main Street to the beltway and all places in between. To find out more about Salena and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.


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Robert Yormick (@guest_1102616)
9 months ago

Well I guess there are things that money CAN’T buy. Bloomberg spent a lot of money trying to win the Democratic
nomination for President, but had nothing even the people of his own party wanted. Then he spent 100 million to try to turn Florida BLUE in the Presidential election & lost it.
He wanted to buy the Lieutenant Governors office & lost, as well as losing money in the many races he backed Democrats in.
So there is some justice that can’t be bought.

Bruce (@guest_1102638)
Reply to  Robert Yormick
9 months ago

This man will probably stand at the Judgment and say, Lord, I’ll give you a trillion dollars to let me in Heaven, and I can SEE it now, The LORD, will say, I NEVER KNEW YOU, cast you into outer darkness, where there shall be weeping and knashing of teeth! Matt 7:23 KJV

Edward R Ventura (@guest_1102672)
Reply to  Bruce
9 months ago

Or a camel can go thru the needle eye than a rich man, hahahahahaha go to heaven ha and Joe Biden got it coming. God don’t like ugly.

Daniel R Smith Sr (@guest_1102622)
9 months ago


Bruce (@guest_1102630)
Reply to  Daniel R Smith Sr
9 months ago

That’s “OBIDEN” the Obama Miscreant!

Edward R Ventura (@guest_1102674)
Reply to  Daniel R Smith Sr
9 months ago

And did not pay taxes on it. we know that they did not pay it. hahahah

Daniel R Smith Sr (@guest_1102626)
9 months ago


Louise Shelley (@guest_1102636)
9 months ago

We need more people like you in government

Joan (@guest_1102649)
9 months ago

Turn About is fair play….hope the Republicans impeach Biden and do exactly what the Dem’s did to Trump. And if they think they can throw Trump in prison then they better get prepared to also send Obvomit, and Corrupt Clinton with him. I’m sure we can find someone that is not scared of the Liberals and will do their job that they were suppose to be doing already. But then when you count the body bags from the previous democrat administration I guess alot of them don’t want to fill one of the Clinton/Ovomit bags.

Mimi Hayes (@guest_1102653)
9 months ago

I think President Trump was and would be even greater, if he had the chance of another term, to generate great stock market returns. Biden appears to be a senile old man – the Democrats have nobody that appeals to me. They lie, cheat and steal to get their way. They shake down foreign governments (the Bidens & Ukraine deals_are on the internet for all to see.) They brag about their dirty deals. Politicians should have term limits.

Talltexan (@guest_1105830)
9 months ago

It was rumored that Hillary spent close to $1.0b in her last futile run for president. Money never translates into votes – good messages do. Voters will insure every time that a candidate will get elected only if the candidate resonates with voters and will promise on their agenda like Trump did. Trump was a We The People man.

Javiernop (@guest_1234203)
5 months ago

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