It’s official: North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory—one of the most sinister enemies of LGBT equality—just conceded defeat.
After three weeks of vote recount efforts, Attorney General Roy Cooper has definitively beat McCrory by more than 10,000 votes, a winning margin that has only widened since Election Day.
It’s clear today that McCrory sealed his fate when he signed anti-LGBT HB 2 in March. The law quickly gained notoriety as the most egregiously anti-LGBT law in the country, making North Carolina the first state nationwide to effectively ban transgender people from using public restrooms.
Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, said today’s results show voters are ready to move away from issues that are “divisive and discriminatory,” and that lawmakers should focus more on proactive solutions:
“For months we’ve been talking about the economic impact of discriminatory laws like HB 2, and now we know that there are also clear electoral consequences to advocating for discrimination. Voters don’t want to spend time talking about issues they know to be divisive and discriminatory. [The North Carolina] election results are the clearest rebuke yet to lawmakers who advance anti-LGBT legislation, and we hope Georgia legislators hear the message loud and clear.
Now more than ever, Georgians are eager to talk about policies that are rooted in the values we all share—values that include treating every single person with respect and dignity. It’s time to talk about a comprehensive nondiscrimination policy that protects all Georgians, regardless of things like one’s faith, sexual orientation or gender identity. ”
HB 2 was widely and swiftly condemned by businesses, constituents and advocates. It has cost the Tar Heel state $600 million in revenue and tens of thousands of jobs—and counting. But despite the undeniable economic consequences of signing state-sanctioned anti-LGBT discrimination into law, McCrory refused to withdraw his support. In fact: He doubled-down, making his support for HB 2 a cornerstone of his reelection bid.
— Freedom for All USA (@freedom4allusa) December 5, 2016
Now, the writing’s on the wall: Anti-LGBT discrimination isn’t just bad for business—it can cost you reelection.
But for McCrory, defeat came as a surprise. On Election Day, as Governor-elect Roy Cooper delivered a victory speech, McCrory refused to concede on the hope that absentee and provisional ballots might deliver him a slim victory. But when they did not his campaign started grasping at straws, filing complaints in half of the state’s counties nearly two weeks after Election Day on the premise that large-scale voter fraud impacted the election. Local county election boards—all controlled by Republicans—denied his complaints. And the State Board of Elections also denied the campaign’s voter fraud claims s on the grounds that there simply was no evidence of voter fraud.
McCrory lost fair and square.
Claims of widespread fraud seem especially bizarre considering other GOP candidates won in North Carolina by strong margins. Donald Trump and Mike Pence carried North Carolina by nearly 4 percentage points, while Republican U.S. Senator Richard Burr—who was locked in a tight race with Democratic challenger Deborah Ross—ultimately notched a decisive 6-point victory.
The success of these other GOP candidates shows that voters were crossing party lines to to send a clear message: Discrimination is a losing platform.
Georgia’s elected officials would do well to take note.
On Election Day, Georgia elected champions of LGBT equality up and down the ballot and sent a record number of LGBT candidates to the state legislature. And they rejected at least one staunch supporter of HB 757 and gave others a strong challenge. If Georgia lawmakers continue to threaten our economy by pushing discriminatory legislation, McCrory’s loss in North Carolina is a strong indication that the tide could turn strongly and swiftly against them in 2018.SHARE THIS STORY