Sundae Horn
Hyde County Hires Election-Denier for Representation

Former state senator Bob Steinburg is now a lobbyist and working for Hyde County.

(Note: I originally posted this on April 1st. It was my sneaky way to show that truth is stranger than fiction. I know this seems like an April Fool's joke, but everything in this article is true and verifiable. The links go to reliable news sources.)

Well-known to have a temper and to be a conspiracy theorist, Steinburg left politics last summer and moved right into grifting off his former constituents.

The Hyde County Board of Commissioners entered into a contract with Wolfestein, LLC in February, 2023. Wolfestein is owned and operated by Bob Steinburg, a man who has been charged with assault, been called "unfit for state Senate seat" by a colleague, and asked to remove COVID-19 misinformation from his personal and political Facebook pages. 

Steinburg lost his bid for re-election in the May 2022 Republican primary. He then resigned from the state senate in July 2022 and immediately hung out his lobbyist shingle. He's been visiting counties in his former district to get work.

The LinkedIn page for Wolfestein, LLC still lists the company as "a sports marketing and promotions company specializing in large-scale sporting events." (You know, like the large-scale sporting events Hyde County hosts all the time...) I couldn't find a Wolfestein website. 

County Manager Kris Noble requested $12,000 from the Ocracoke Occupancy Tax Board to help support the contract with Wolfestein, which will cost the county $36,000 a year. 

Steinburg founded Wolfestein in 2017 as a "sports marketing" firm and entered into a $50,000 no-bid contract with Currituck County (he was their state representative at the time) to promote "Visit Currituck" at a basketball tournament in Asheville, NC. As a direct result of this contract, Currituck County passed an ordinance limiting business contracts with elected officials representing the area. 

Hyde County has retained the services of a lobbying firm in the past, but they have gone a few years without. "In this aggressive atmosphere, we do want to proceed with a lobbying contract," Noble said. She noted that Steinburg is familiar with Ocracoke and mainland Hyde County because he used to represent us in the state legislature where he will be lobbying. 

In 2020, Steinburg was criticized for calling COVID-19 a "hoax" on Facebook. (He claimed he was merely starting a conversation.) He also shared debunked videos promoting false claims about alternative COVID-19 treatments (hydroxychloroquine, anyone?), many of which Facebook eventually removed (a quick browse of his Facebook pages will show that many of his posts are removed by Facebook for misinformation.) He was very critical of NC Governor Roy Cooper's handling of the COVID-19 response. This wasn't surprising considering he also accused Cooper of stealing the election in 2016 when Cooper became governor by a tiny margin. (Steinburg also shared a meme depicting Cooper with a Hitler 'stache and a swastika armband. Classy!)

Speaking of Nazis -- Steinburg has blamed the Holocaust on the Jews ("they remained silent for too long"). He also suggested that Democrats were trying to prolong the pandemic to justify mail-in voting, he complained about Facebook "censorship" when they took down debunked anti-mask videos, and he promoted conspiracy theories about the Black Lives Matter protests in his own district.

He also lied about Ocracoke on social media and made false claims about FEMA's response to Hurricane Dorian in 2019. (Those posts show as "no longer available" except for one I wrote about here.) He's been known to tell constituents to "shut up" online and in person. Hell, he even blocked me from commenting on his Facebook page! 

After the election of 2020, Steinburg joined the ranks of election-deniers. According to reporting on WRAL, Steinburg thinks it the election could've been stolen by China, the FBI, the CIA, or perhaps a blackmail scheme against Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Perhaps all of the above? Talk about collusion! 

Inauguration Day post
Inauguration Day post

Steinburg was so unhinged about the 2020 election that he made national news -- even the Washington Post and The Hill wanted to report on the crazy state senator urging Trump to suspend civil liberties. He called for a 50-state total election audit. He says he will never believe that Joe Biden won the election.

Ocracoke is an island of Blue in a mostly Red region. Although Donald Trump got 56% of Hyde County's vote overall, Joe Biden won on Ocracoke with with 64% of our vote. Why would Ocracoke (or the 42% of mainlanders who voted for Biden) think an election-denier would be the right representative for us? Besides throwing tantrums and insulting people, Steinburg was best know in the state legislature for prison reform work (mostly hiring more guards) and giving public money to rich people so they can send their kids to private school. How does that help Ocracoke?  

Note: I played a clip of Steinburg talking earlier today and Rob overheard it and said, "He's not from North Carolina! Listen to how he said Carteret -- that's a New York accent!" Of course, he was right. Steinburg was born and raised in New York, and went to college in New York and Iowa. Not sure when he moved to NC, but he graduated from Iowa in 1990. Now, I'm not one to talk, having transplanted to the South myself, but it's possible that I've been in NC longer than Steinburg and I sure hope to outlast him. :)