All political parties are coalitions. These competing factions create tensions and push-and-pull that can lead to good policies in the best of times, and endless infighting in the worst of them.

Here’s a look at the types of Republicans you’ll find in North Carolina politics.

[Make sure you’ve subscribed to our newsletter to get next week’s analysis of the different types of Democrats in North Carolina.]

Chamber of Commerce Republicans

Also known as establishment Republicans, or if you want to use a more pejorative term, “country club Republicans.” They tend to favor pro-business policies, lower taxes and lighter regulation — but don’t want to rock the boat too much.

These Republicans supported Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio in the 2016 presidential primary.

Key examples: Thom Tillis, Pat McCrory

Photo by Pat McCrory via Facebook

Religious conservatives

They strongly affiliate with a Christian background and ground their policy position on their faith. They tend to favor restrictions on abortions and oppose same-sex marriage.

These Republicans typically supported Ted Cruz in the 2016 presidential primary.

Key examples: Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, Mark Harris

Dan Forest. Photo via Lt. Gov. Dan Forest on Facebook.

Populist Republicans

Also known today as Trumpkins. They tend to be pro-military, pro-jobs, anti-regulation and speak often about manufacturing. They supported Donald Trump and still hold fast to him.

Key examples: U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger

Photo by Congressman Robert Pittenger via Facebook.

Libertarian Republicans

These tend to be the strongest small-government Republicans, favoring as little intervention as possible — in the economy, in business or in foreign conflicts.

These Republicans likely wished Ron Paul ran again in 2016 but might have backed his son U.S. Sen. Rand Paul in 2016.

Key examples: Art Pope, Greg Brannon

Big city Republicans

It’s tough these days for Republicans to carve out a position in cities, which are dominated by Democrats. They serve in small, suburban districts and tend to be among the more moderate of the Republican factions. They favor pro-business, low taxes, fiscally responsible positions.

Key examples: Gov. Jim Martin, Edwin Peacock

Photo by Edwin Peacock for Mayor via Facebook.

Fiscal hawks

These Republicans are the least likely to compromise on spending and place fiscal policy at the heart of their message.

Key examples: U.S. Rep. Walter Jones

Photo by Walter Jones for Congress via Facebook.


These folks moved to North Carolina after spending time up north and have some different ideas about how government should operate. For one thing, they are baffled that our state does not have different school districts for each town. There could be more of them soon after our state eliminated the death tax.

Key examples: Bob Rucho

Young Republicans

These Republicans are carving a new path for the party moving forward — and perhaps forming a new coalition. They tend to be entrepreneurial and emphasize small government and prudent spending, but don’t get as caught up on social issues.

Key examples: Tariq Bokhari, Matthew Ridenhour, N.C. Sen. Chad Barefoot


  1. Unfortunately, I saw no category for many of us: disgusted with Trump; clinging to the concept of decency and kindness when dealing with people; fiscal restraint but interested in addressing societies problems in a responsible way; strong supporter of public schools; looking for a meaningful debate on handling gun violence; TR conservationists; more interested in demonstrating good government policies and practices than letting the fumes of power intoxicate the decision making process etc. etc. etc. There are many of us out there in this category completely frustrated by the failure of the GOP and unwilling to turn to the Democrats as viable alternatives.

  2. Chad Barefoot as Young Republican…. “but don’t get as caught up on social issues.” What have you been smoking? This is the most ridiculous list I’ve seen. Clearly you spend no time at all hanging around actual NC Republicans. Art Pope and Greg Brannon in same category? Unsigned drivel!

      • I look forward to your listing of the different types of Democrats, it’ll be a much longer list, and also Unafiliateds, Libertarians, and soon to be official Greens!

    • Ditto. Example: Dan Forest is perhaps my favorite NC Republican— and I did not support Cruz for Prez.

      “Lt Dan” is freedom loving — for ALL North Carolinians— not just for transgendered and born ones. Beyond that, his commitment to education and economic expansion is so clear and compelling that he was just elected by his peers as the chair of the National Lt Givernor’s Association.

      Why on earth try to segment and divide Republicans at this time? This is such a Republican weakness – overlooking the vastness of our areas of agreement so we can criticize an fight over the tiny minority.

      Who supports the family as the building block of society? Free markets and strong national defense? Equal opportunity for all? Equality before the law? Low taxes? I’ll bet all of these do.

  3. Thanks Andrew…….haven’t seen you at any GOP functions in Wake county, would love to meet you, and introduce you to some actual Republicans? I’d be willing to bet your scattergoris would change. Can you eleaborate on how you think Chad “doesn’t get caught up in social issues?” and why Art Pope and Dr. Brannon are lumped together?
    Do you personally know any of the folks you categorized? Where do you think I fall, which category? I personally know most of them, and have followed and been involved in NC politics since I got here in 2003. Governor Jim Martin???
    I’d sincerely love to introduce to 2018 Republicans in North Carolina….

    • I’ll admit that not everyone will perfectly fit into the categories. Some of the people I name I know personally, others I do not. Stay in touch!

    • Andrew lives in Charlotte and I think the ones you mentioned are in the Raleigh area. He often provides insightful analysis.

      • Thanks Matt, I encourage him to get out of Meck occasionally, I can think of at least three different categories, try the Mountain GOP, also Beach GOP….there’s a lot of North Carolina outside of Meck, and Wake, for that matter. In fact, it is the Rural area legislators who ‘drive’ more policy than anyone else in the State.

        • What would you consider the hallmarks of the Mountain GOP and Beach GOP? For what it’s worth, I grew up in the Triangle and worked at the newspaper in Wilmington for a while.

          • Sorry bro, not doing your ‘journaltistic’ work for you. Get outside of the Meck once in a while, attend some GOP club meetings, functions, conventions…. get away from your keyboard, get a note pad and a pen and go face to face some folks! go outside, get some fresh air! (respectfully)


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