Saying Republicans have failed to stand for constitutional principles, former Winston-Salem City Council member Vernon Robinson said Thursday that he is joining the Constitution Party, which the State Board of Elections recognized as an official political party Wednesday.

Robinson said in a statement that after 36 years as a Republican he has come to the conclusion that “all of the Democrats and 90 percent of the Republicans in office betray their oath to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution every day they are in office.”

Robinson said the major parties will never “repeal Obamacare, defund Planned Parenthood, stop the illegal alien invasion, prosecute those who use the intelligence services to attack an opposition party, balance the federal budget or reduce the size and scope of government.”

Robinson was elected to the Winston-Salem Board of Aldermen (now known as the city council) in 1997 and re-elected in 2001. He was defeated in 2005 by Democrat Molly Leight.

Robinson was the GOP’s nominee for state superintendent of public instruction in 1996 and for the 13th Congressional District seat in 2006, losing both times.

Robinson has run for Congress a number of times, most recently in 2016 when he unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for the 13th District.

Robinson was a co-chairman of the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, which backed Carson for the 2016 Republican Party presidential nomination. Robinson said that effort raised $18 million and had 38,000 active volunteers.

The state recognized the Constitution Party after its representatives collected 12,000 valid signatures from registered voters before a deadline. The state passed a law last year that dramatically lowered the new-party threshold.

Formerly, a party had to collect the number of signatures amounting to 2 percent of the votes cast in the most recent election for governor — in other words, more than 90,000 signatures. Under the new law, a party has to collect signatures equivalent to only 0.25 percent of that vote.

In addition to the Constitution Party, the Green Party has become certified to be on the ballot in North Carolina along with Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians.

The Green Party made the ballot under a provision that allows a party to compete in the state if it is on the ballot in at least 35 other states.

The Constitution Party will hold its nominating convention June 16, but Robinson said he has no plans to run for an elective office under his new party affiliation.

“I’m looking for candidates,” Robinson said, adding that anyone interested in running for an elective office should go to www.constitutionpartync.com and learn about the process.

“I’m trying to elect candidates who believe in limited, constitutional government,” he said.

“I know a lot about grass-roots efforts and raising money. I am going to help other guys and ladies out.”

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wyoung@wsjournal.com 336-727-7369 @wyoungWSJ

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