Robin Hayes

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Robin Hayes
Robin Hayes, official 109th Congress photo.jpg
Chairperson of the North Carolina Republican Party
In office
January 15, 2011 – June 8, 2013
Preceded by Tom Fetzer
Succeeded by Claude Pope
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 8th district
In office
January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2009
Preceded by Bill Hefner
Succeeded by Larry Kissell
Personal details
Born Robin Cannon Hayes
(1945-08-14) August 14, 1945 (age 68)
Concord, North Carolina, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Barbara Hayes
Alma mater Duke University
Religion Presbyterianism

Robert Cannon "Robin" Hayes (born August 14, 1945) is a politician and businessman, who represented North Carolina's 8th congressional district in the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2009, and was the Republican nominee for Governor of North Carolina in 1996. He also served as chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party from 2011 to 2013.

Early life, education, and early political career[edit]

Hayes was born in Concord, North Carolina and is a graduate of Duke University. He was elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives in 1992 and served two terms. He was the Republican nominee for governor in 1996, but was heavily defeated by Democratic incumbent Jim Hunt.

Hayes owns a hosiery mill in Mount Pleasant, North Carolina. His parents were Robert Griffith Hayes, Jr. (October 21, 1907 - November 12, 1998) and Mariam Winslow Cannon (January 22, 1916 - August 4, 2007), daughter of textile magnate Charles Albert Cannon (November 29, 1892 - April 2, 1971) and his wife Ruth Louise Coltrane (October 15, 1891 - December 22, 1965).

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

1998–2000

Hayes ran for Congress in 1998 after 12-term incumbent Democrat Bill Hefner announced his retirement. He narrowly defeated Democrat Mike Taylor, winning 51%-48% with a gap of only 3,400 votes.[1] In 2000, he defeated Taylor in a rematch 55%-44%.[2]

2002–2004

Even though a large chunk of its population is located in the conservative-leaning eastern suburbs of Charlotte, the 8th has long been considered marginally Democratic due to a strong Democratic presence in the eastern portion of the district closer to Fayetteville. After the 2000 Census, the Democratic-controlled North Carolina General Assembly made the 8th considerably more Democratic than before. It shifted the heavily Republican western portion of Union County to the Charlotte-based 9th District. In its place, it added a heavily Democratic tendril in Mecklenburg County to the 8th, stretching from the far northeastern portion of Charlotte almost to Matthews.

In 2002, he defeated Democrat Chris Kouri 54%-45%.[3] In 2004, he defeated Democrat Beth Troutman 56%-45%.[4]

2006

In 2006, however, Hayes was nearly defeated by Democrat Larry Kissell, a social studies teacher and former textile worker from Montgomery County. Both men won approximately 50% of the vote, making it one of the closest elections in the country. In the end, Kissell conceded defeat to Hayes after a recount; Hayes officially won the election by 329 votes. This was especially stunning since Kissell received little help from the national party until late in the campaign. Although Hayes only won three of the district's nine counties, a 6,100-vote margin in his native Cabarrus County was enough to keep him in office.

2008

In 2008, Hayes again faced Kissell. CQ Politics rated it as 'No Clear Favorite',[5] The Rothenberg Political Report as 'Toss-Up/Tilt Democratic',[6] and The Cook Political Report as 'Republican Toss Up'[7]

The Sunlight Foundation reported that as of 2008, among the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Hayes had the highest amount of investment in oil stocks.[8]

Hayes came under fire late in the campaign for his comments at a rally for John McCain.[9] On October 18, 2008 at a McCain rally, Hayes began his remarks by saying it was important to “make sure we don’t say something stupid, make sure we don’t say something we don’t mean.” He then accused Obama of “inciting class warfare” and said that “liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God.” [10][11] Hayes repeatedly denied that he had made the statement and accused reporters of "irresponsible journalism", until an audio recording attesting to the statement was released.[11] A few days later at a debate hosted by the Concord and Kannapolis Independent Tribune, Hayes denied that he denied the statement, saying he was denying only the context of how the remarks were presented to him.[12]

Kissel defeated him 55%-45%.

Tenure[edit]

Hayes is a staunch advocate of a federal prohibition of online poker. In 2006, he cosponsored H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.[13]

CAFTA and Trade Act

Hayes has drawn heavy criticism[citation needed] for voting in favor of the Central American Free Trade Agreement. Hayes had earlier voiced his strong opposition to the measure, saying he felt it would cause further loss of textile industry jobs in his district. In the weeks before the vote, Hayes stated that he was "flat-out, completely, horizontally opposed to CAFTA," saying that "it's not in the best interests of the core constituency I represent," and that "there is no way I could vote for CAFTA". Hayes first voted "no" but was pressured at the last minute to change his vote by prominent House Republicans. The final tally was 217-215 with Hayes casting the deciding "yes" vote (a tie would have defeated the motion).[14]

Hayes played a similar role in the passage of the Trade Act of 2002, which shifted some trade agreement authority from Congress to the President. Though Hayes had said "We're a definite 'no' until we get some help on textiles," he was lobbied hard by the White House and congressional leadership to vote for the measure. Hayes waited until the last minute before voting "yes," and broke down in tears on the floor of the House.[15]

NASCAR vaccine scare

In October 2007, it was revealed that House Homeland Security officials were "advised" to take vaccines before attending a NASCAR race in Concord, North Carolina. Hayes "took umbrage" when he heard about it and immediately defended the Charlotte Motor Speedway in his district and NASCAR fans nationwide. The uproar lasted for days and was covered on all major news outlets.[16]

Committee assignments[edit]

  • Agriculture Committee
    • Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy, and Research
    • Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry (Ranking Member)
    • Subcommittee on Specialty Crops, Rural Development and Foreign Agriculture
  • Armed Services Committee
    • Readiness Subcommittee
    • Terrorism and Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee
  • Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
    • Subcommittee on Aviation
    • Subcommittee on Highways and Transit
    • Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment
  • Assistant Whip
  • Founding Co-Chairman of the Special Operations Forces Caucus
  • Co-Chairman of the Philanthropy Caucus

NC GOP Chairmanship[edit]

On January 15, 2011 Hayes was elected chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party. He completed the term of former Raleigh mayor Tom Fetzer, who decided to leave the post before his term expired.[17] Hayes then served a full two-year term, and after the Republicans' successful 2012 election, he chose not to run for another term in 2013.[18]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
James Gardner
Republican nominee for Governor of North Carolina
1996
Succeeded by
Richard Vinroot
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bill Hefner
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 8th congressional district

1999–2009
Succeeded by
Larry Kissell