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If there’s one thing at which North Carolina truly dominates, it’s basketball. If there are two things, it’s basketball and awful politicians.

Since the March Madness tournament already has the basketball part covered, we decided to give you a chance to determine once and for all who is the absolute worst politician in North Carolina. Will it be Thom Tillis? Phil Berger? A dark-horse “Cinderella story” bid from Duane Hall? You get to decide!

Every day starting Thursday, March 21 at noon, we’ll post the day’s matchups on our Twitter page -- and then you’ll have 24 hours to vote in each matchup for the politician you think is worse. If you’re unfamiliar with any of the candidates, look for a brief roundup of all 64 contenders below.

Throughout the month, your votes will whittle down the bracket to the “Sleazy Sixteen,” the “Egregious Eight,” the “Foul Four,” and finally a championship matchup. The winner -- or loser, we should say -- will be awarded the Jesse Helms Dishonorary Championship Trophy to recognize the singular awfulness they contribute to our state.

 

March Madness 2019

     
     

    US Sen. Thom Tillis 

    NRA-backed opponent of the Affordable Care Act

    VS.

    Jim McVicker

    Bladen County Sheriff linked to election fraud

    William Brisson

    HB2 supporter linked to Bladen election fraud

    VS.

    Joyce Krawiec

    Told the Women's March "If brains were lard, you couldn't grease a small skillet."

    Russell Walker

    White supremacist who ran for NC House in 2018

    VS.

    Greg Murphy

    HB2 supporter who voted to allow people to carry guns in church

    David Rouzer

    Wants to dismantle the Department of Education 

    VS.

    Carson Smith

     

    Wants to force local sheriffs to act as ICE agents

     Michael Speciale 

    Pro-secession, anti-LGBT, anti-puppy (yes, anti-puppy) House member

    VS.

    Mark Johnson

    Told teachers $35K/year is "good enough" despite his six-figure salary

    Mark Harris

    Caught trying to rig the NC-09 race in 2018

    VS.

     John Alexander

    Supports NC Heritage PAC, which wants to block the removal of Confederate monuments

    Richard Hudson

    Gun fanatic who received $20,000 from the NRA and wants to weaken concealed carry permit requirements

    VS.

     Cherie Berry

    Elevator queen who loves to shaft workers who complain

     

     Pat McCrory

    Championed HB2, then refused to concede his loss in 2016

    VS.

    Donny Lambeth

    Dissed his fellow lawmakers -- "Quite frankly, there’s not a lot of depth of knowledge."  

    Phil Berger

    The Emperor Palpatine of the State Senate. Need we say more?

    VS.

    Kieth Kidwell

    Lock-step supporter of Donald Trump, opposes Medicaid expansion as rural hospital closed in his Beaufort Co. district.

     Terry Johnson

    Alamance Sheriff who illegally targeted Latinos

    VS.

     Bob Steinburg

    HB2 champion who assaulted his opponent's campaign manager in 2012` 

    Michele Presnell

    Opposes abortion even in cases of rape -- doesn't believe pregnancy could ever threaten a woman's life

    VS.

     Bill Rabon

     Keeps voting against funding to clean up the Cape Fear River

     

     

     

     


     


     

     

     

    Mike Lee

    Keeps voting against funding to clean up the Cape Fear River

    Okay with charter schools excluding poor kids

    Architect of the Senate's racial gerrymandering plan, bad JFK impersonator


     

     


     Nelson Dollar

    Architect of the 2013 tax hikes on working families

    VS.

     

     Pat McCrory

    Championed HB2, then refused to concede his loss in 2016

    VS.

     Dennis Riddell

    Anti-LGBT, anti-choice House member who hired his wife as his legislative assistant


    Richard Burr

    Second-largest recipient of NRA campaign funding in the U.S. Senate

    VS.

     Mike Clampitt

     Constantly seen waving the Confederate flag and posing with people in full confederate gear


    Ralph Hise

    Accused of illegally taking money from his campaign account

    VS.

     


    Larry Pittman

    Gun nut who wants to arm teachers, blamed school shootings on "communist Democrats" (and that's just the tip of the iceberg)

    VS.

     Greg Murphy

    HB2 supporter who voted to allow people to carry guns in church


    Chad Barefoot

    HB2 champion who is the son-in-law of anti-LGBT crusader Tami Fitzgerald

    VS.

     Bill Cook

    Wants to repeal plastic bag ban to "help businesses" but has no scientific evidence


    David Rouzer

    Wants to dismantle the Department of Education

    VS.

     Jonathan Jordan

    HB2 co-sponsor who voted to gut environmental regulations for businesses and used campaign funds to buy an NRA membership


    David Lewis

    Ringleader behind unconstitutional voter suppression, racial gerrymandering, and court-tampering

    VS.

     Joel Ford

    Supported anti-LGBT legislation such as Amendment One in 2012 and SB2 in 2015


    Patrick McHenry

    Payday lending stooge and Affordable Care Act opponent

    VS.

     Harry Brown

    Proposed a bill that would make sales taxes based on population by county instead of sales. This caused much public outcry and failure of the bill.


    Mark Meadows ✅

    Leader of the ultra-right-wing House Freedom Caucus

    VS.

    Dan Barrett

     

    Supports the partisan gerrymandering of our state courts 


     

    Carl Ford

    Sponsored legislation to nullify legal same-sex marriages


    Wes Meredith

    Anti-ACA state senator who was busted for Medicaid fraud in 2014

    VS.

    Julia Howard

    In support of HB2, she argued that "nobody wants a 200-pound male going into some changing room full of girls.” 


    Michele Presnell

    Opposes abortion even in cases of rape -- doesn't believe pregnancy could ever threaten a woman's life

    VS.

     Brent Jackson

    Sued for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by migrant workers hired by his family's company


    Robert Pittenger

    Foot soldier in the War on Christmas -- "Let’s end political correctness and put the true meaning of Christ back in Christmas."

    VS.

    Marilyn Avila

    Supported discriminatory voter ID law, falsely claiming "We have ID fraud that is rampant in this country" 


     George Holding

    Fell asleep while acting as the presiding officer of Congress

    VS.

     


    Justin Burr

    Architect of the 2018 judicial gerrymandering plan who spent campaign money on Brooks Brothers suits

    VS.

    Rick Gunn 

    Keeps voting against funding to clean up the Cape Fear River


     

     John Bell

    Baselessly said judges and plaintiffs in the gerrymandering case had inappropriate relationships but didn't cite any evidence


    Dan Forest

    HB2 champion who took money from a church accused of beating gay people

    VS.

     


    Tim Moore

    Berger's sidekick, accused of using his position to profit from sweetheart real estate deals

    VS.

     John Blust

    In an argument for keeping Confederate statues standing, Blust said that he vehemently disagrees with "modern liberalism" which seeks to "condemn anyone who d[oes] not hold present day views on race and equality." Essentially, Blust self-proclaimed himself a racist.


    Chris Malone

    He was for HB2 before he was against it

    VS.

    Jason Saine

    National chair of right-wing group ALEC, which pushes laws like the "Stand Your Ground" disaster


     Trudy Wade

    Tried to gerrymander the Greensboro City Council to help the GOP

    VS.

     


    Ted Budd

    Gun shop owner supported by the ultra-conservative Club For Growth

    VS.

     Louis Pate

    Wants to eliminate food stamps from the state budget, which would cause 133,000 people (including 50,000 children) to go hungry


    Mark Walker

    Spent $200 of campaign funds on an NRA membership

    VS.

     Tamara Barringer

    She was for HB2 before he was against it


    Dan Bishop

    Primary sponsor of HB2 -- need we say more?

    VS.

    John Faircloth

    Filed a bill that let police withhold body worn and dashboard cameras 


    Walter Jones

    Has taken over $50,000 from the NRA, the most of any NC congressman

    VS.

    Jon Hardister

    He was for HB2 before he was against it


    Virginia Foxx

    Wants to end student loan forgiveness

    VS.

     Jeff Tarte

    He was for HB2 before he was against it