- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A North Carolina House Republican is officially on the outs with the rest of the chamber’s GOP caucus.

Rep. Robert Brawley of Iredell County and a key House Republican leader confirmed Wednesday that Brawley will no longer be attending House Republican Caucus meetings following a no-confidence vote Tuesday.

Majority Leader Edgar Starnes, R-Caldwell, said caucus members wanted the unusual no-confidence vote because Brawley was speaking publicly about caucus business. Brawley served 18 years in the House until 1998 and returned last year, but lost his primary election this month.

“There are a number of members who have felt uncomfortable discussing privileged information with him because he had a propensity of talking publicly about caucus matters,” Starnes said Wednesday before another caucus meeting. Such meetings are private.

Brawley has been a critic of Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, penning a letter questioning his leadership in the weeks before the U.S. Senate primary that Tillis won. Brawley resigned his finance committee chairmanship last year during a flap with Tillis and wrote a letter at the time bringing up their differences over legislation. The letter ended up getting read on the House floor.

Brawley, in an interview, said House Republican leaders “don’t like the fact that I do not support Thom Tillis,” but he said he considered the issue over and done with after Brawley’s primary defeat.

“They will tell you it’s because I talked about secrets outside the caucus,” Brawley said. “First of all, I don’t do anything down here that I can’t talk about, period. And I’ve told them if that keeps me from being a part of the caucus, I’m in the wrong place anyway.”

Brawley said Starnes told him Tillis demanded a meeting be held Tuesday to consider his future in the caucus. A Tillis spokeswoman referred questions to Starnes, who said it wasn’t Tillis who asked, but members of the caucus who had concerns. Tillis was absent from Tuesday’s caucus. Republicans voted 52-11 against him, Brawley said.

The political breakup, first reported by WRAL-TV, gave opponents of Tillis‘ Senate bid an opportunity to criticize his leadership style.

Tillis has apparently turned his gavel against his own members to spare himself further embarrassment,” said Ben Ray, a spokesman for Forward North Carolina, which is working to elect Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and other Democrats.

Brawley said he’s still a Republican and had no plans to caucus with the House Democrats. “I’m a Republican for a reason,” he said.

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