GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) — The ex-chairman of a local hospital board who resigned his position last year when his social media postings early during the COVID-19 pandemic got public attention will serve out the term of a North Carolina legislator who died.
Gaston County Republican activists chose Donnie Loftis over two other candidates Wednesday to succeed fifth-term GOP Rep. Dana Bumgardner, who died Oct. 2, The Gaston Gazette reported.
Loftin, a former county commissioner, will now be appointed by Gov. Roy Cooper to the 109th House District seat through the end of 2022. The other candidates were Bumgardner’s daughter and a current commissioner, according to Gaston GOP Chairman Jonathan Fletcher.
Loftis was chairman of the CaroMont Health board when he resigned in May 2020 after questions about some Facebook posts, including one that called coronavirus-related stay-at-home orders “tyranny.” He was later reappointed to the CaroMont board.
Loftis, an Army veteran who served in Iraq, told WRAL-TV on Thursday he resigned to spare CaroMont controversy. But he said Cooper had overstepped his authority shutting down large swaths of the state’s economy to reduce coronavirus transmission.
“I regret that CaroMont Health was disparaged,” he said. “I do not regret standing up and saying your personal freedoms are important.”