|Chair of the North Carolina Republican Party|
Assumed office |
April 30, 2016
|Preceded by||Hasan Harnett|
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
January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2009
|Preceded by||Bill Hefner|
|Succeeded by||Larry Kissell|
Robert Cannon Hayes|
August 14, 1945
Concord, North Carolina, U.S.
|Education||Duke University (BA)|
Robert Cannon "Robin" Hayes (born August 14, 1945) is an American 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 served as chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party from 2011 to 2013, and again starting on April 30, 2016.
Early life, education, and early political career
Hayes was born in Concord, North Carolina, to Mariam Winslow (née Cannon) and Robert Griffith Hayes, Jr. His great-grandfather James William Cannon founded the Cannon Mills Corporation, a Kannapolis-based textile company that was later run by his grandfather Charles Albert Cannon. He is also a descendent of Abraham Owen, a military officer killed at the Battle of Tippecanoe.
Hayes graduated from Duke University. He was elected to the Concord city council in 1978 and to the North Carolina House of Representatives in 1992 where he served two terms. He was the Republican nominee for governor in 1996, but was handily defeated by Democratic incumbent Jim Hunt. Hayes owns a hosiery mill in Mount Pleasant, North Carolina.
U.S. House of Representatives
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. In 2000, he defeated Taylor in a rematch 55%-44%.
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 2006, however, Hayes was nearly defeated by Democrat Larry Kissell, a social studies teacher and former textile worker from Montgomery County. Each man won approximately 50% of the vote, making it one of the closest elections in the country. At 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 his 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.
In 2008, Hayes again faced Kissell. CQ Politics rated it as 'No Clear Favorite', The Rothenberg Political Report as 'Toss-Up/Tilt Democratic', and The Cook Political Report as 'Republican Toss Up'
Hayes came under fire late in the campaign for his comments at a rally for John McCain. 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."  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. 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.
Kissel defeated him 55%-45%.
- CAFTA and Trade Act
Hayes has drawn heavy criticism 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).
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.
- 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.
- 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
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. 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. In 2016, state Republicans removed their chairman, Hasan Harnett, and elected Hayes to return to the position.
- Times-News/Associated Press
- "hayes". ancestry.com. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- "Our Campaigns - NC District 8 Race - Nov 03, 1998". ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- "Our Campaigns - NC District 8 Race - Nov 07, 2000". ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- "Our Campaigns - NC District 8 Race - Nov 05, 2002". ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- "Our Campaigns - NC - District 08 Race - Nov 02, 2004". ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- Race Ratings Chart: House Archived 2010-10-28 at the Wayback Machine. CQ Politics
- 2008 House Ratings The Rothenberg Political Report, October 14, 2008
- 2008 Competitive House Race Chart Archived 2008-10-16 at the Wayback Machine. The Cook Political Report, October 14, 2008
- "The Sunlight Foundation Blog - Oil Industry Influence: Personal Finances'". Sunlight Foundation. August 8, 2008. Archived from the original on August 12, 2008. Retrieved on Aug. 8, 2008
- "Down the ballot: No 60 in Senate". FirstRead. MSNBC. 2008-11-05. Archived from the original on 2012-07-15.
- "Damn the Polls: McCain's Irreducibles Beg to Differ". The New York Observer. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
- "GOP-er admits saying 'Liberals hate real Americans'". Politico. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
- Onge, Peter St. (2008-10-28). "Poll finds N. Carolinian who slammed liberals now behind". Charlotte Observer. Archived from the original on 2013-01-28.
- Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 4777
- Christensen, Rob (2005-07-29). "Hayes is CAFTA foe no longer". The News & Observer Publishing Company. Archived from the original on 2006-08-31. Retrieved 2006-08-30.
- This Article is Available to Subscribers Only, The New Republic
- "That's Racin' | 10/11/2007 | Congress considers speedway, race fans hazardous?". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
- "Robin Hayes won't seek another term as GOP chairman". newsobserver.com. Archived from the original on 11 April 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- Robin Hayes for Congress official campaign site
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Profile at SourceWatch
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|Party political offices|
| Republican nominee for Governor of North Carolina
| Chair of the North Carolina Republican Party
| Chair of the North Carolina Republican Party
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 8th congressional district