Raleigh, N.C. — Rep. Paul Tine, U-Dare, is now a member of the House Republican Caucus, although he plans to move his party affiliation from Democrat to unaffiliated next week.
"The House Republican Caucus welcomes Representative Tine and looks forward to adding his voice as we address the important issues facing North Carolinians," House Speaker-Designee Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, said via a news release Friday. "The inclusion of Representative Tine reflects the continuing positive momentum of our Caucus as we head into the upcoming legislative session."
House Republicans met in Raleigh Friday to hash over Tine's inclusion in their group as well as other organizational matters.
Tine, who represents four coastal counties, served his first term in office as a Democrat and ran for re-election as a Democrat. But he told WRAL News this week that he thought he could better represent his district as a member of the majority caucus.
"I've always been a middle-of-the-road guy," Tine said in an interview earlier this week. "I'm a fiscal conservative who believes we should be able to live our personal lives. I don't know that really has a home right now, especially in the Democratic Party, so that's why I think it's right to go unaffiliated."
Republicans already had a broad majority in the General Assembly. Although Tine won't technically be a registered Republican, his move effectively gives the GOP a total of 75 of the chamber's 120 members.
"The House Republicans are excited to welcome Rep. Tine," House Republican Majority Leader Mike Hager, R-Rutherford, said. "I think he will make a great addition. As Speaker-Designee Moore mentioned, this does reflect the positive momentum of the Caucus."
Democrats have said they were disappointed by Tine's move.
"While it is disappointing that he waited until after he was re-elected as a Democrat to reveal his decision, we will continue working with everyone committed to moving North Carolina forward," House Minority Leader Larry Hall, D-Durham, said earlier this week of Tine's move.