Kidwell resigns as Deputy Majority Whip, remains in legislature

Published 12:53 pm Thursday, May 25, 2023

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North Carolina Republican Representatives Keith Kidwell (Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Pamlico) and Jeffrey C. McNeely (Iredell) resigned from their positions within the GOP leadership. An official announcement was made by House Majority Leader John Bell on Thursday morning on the House floor. Both representatives did not resign from the legislature.

“Today it was announced on the House floor that Rep. Keith Kidwell and Rep. Jeff McNeely have resigned their appointed Deputy Whip positions,” a statement from Bell’s office explained. “As elected officials, we must serve by example and be accountable for our actions, especially as leaders in the caucus. While apologies have been made and accepted, we believe this is an appropriate action and step forward. The House Republican Caucus remains united as we work towards our shared goals this legislative session.

In a social media post published to his political page, Kidwell wrote,  “what I did in order to allow more time for me to serve the people on the issues that concern my district is to resign as the Deputy Majority Whip. This position does little to help me advance important issues.”

The resignations stem from controversial comments Kidwell and McNeely made about other legislators. As discussions were had last week about abortion restrictions, Democratic Rep. Diamond Staton-Williams shared that she is a Christian who was raised in church and who has had an abortion. Will Doran, a reporter with WRAL said he overheard Kidwell make a “private” remark that Staton-Williams “must have meant the Church of Satan.”

Rep. McNeely asked Democratic Rep. Abe Jones if he would have been accepted to Harvard University had he not been an athlete and a minority.

Bell said there are no plans to replace Kidwell and McNeely at this time.

In March, Kidwell filed a bill banning abortion at conception with the exception that if the pregnant woman could either die or suffer great bodily harm then the abortion would be permissible. On Tuesday May 16, the Republican-led General Assembly overrode a veto from Governor Roy Cooper on a bill that places a 12-week ban on abortions, but has an exemption of 20-weeks for rape and incest and up to 24-weeks for “life-limiting” fetal anomalies. There is no ban if the woman’s life is in danger because of a medical emergency.