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Kidwell steps down from leadership position after he was overheard saying Dem colleague went to the "Church of Satan"

North Carolina Republican State Representative Keith Kidwell
(Photo: North Carolina General Assembly)
North Carolina Republican State Representative Keith Kidwell

Two conservative Republicans in the State House of Representatives, one from eastern North Carolina, have stepped down from leadership positions after making offensive statements about other members, including a racist comment.

Representative Keith Kidwell resigned as deputy whip after a WRAL reporter heard Kidwell say a Democratic representative who shared her personal history with abortion went to the "Church of Satan."

Kidwell represents Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, and Pamlico Counties.

From WRAL's Will Doran, reporting on the debate of the 12-week abortion ban: Diamond Staton-Williams, D-Cabarrus, told the story of her own abortion. As she mentioned growing up in the church, a top Republican, Rep. Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort, was in the back of the chamber talking to staffers. He quipped that Staton-Williams must have meant the Church of Satan.

House Democratic Leader Robert Reives says attacking members based on policy positions is one thing, "But when you start feeding into some of these tropes that are out there, that's another."

During floor debate on education last week, Representative Jeff McNeely, who is white, asked Representative and former judge Abe Jones, who is Black, whether Jones could have gotten into Harvard without being an athlete or a minority. That led to McNeely stepping down as deputy whip.

Kidwell and McNeely both belong to the far-right House Freedom Caucus. Neither has resigned from the legislature.

Annette is originally a Midwest gal, born and raised in Michigan, but with career stops in many surrounding states, the Pacific Northwest, and various parts of the southeast. An award-winning journalist and mother of four, Annette moved to eastern North Carolina in 2019 to be closer to family – in particular, her two young grandchildren. It’s possible that a -27 day with a -68 windchill in Minnesota may have also played a role in that decision. In her spare time, Annette does a lot of kiddo cuddling, reading, and producing the coolest Halloween costumes anyone has ever seen. She has also worked as a diversity and inclusion facilitator serving school districts and large corporations. It’s the people that make this beautiful area special, and she wants to share those stories that touch the hearts of others. If you have a story idea to share, please reach out by email to westona@cravencc.edu.