Tags: Trump Administration | Democrats 2016 | Dems | LGBT | Governor Races | Indiana | North Carolina

Dems Look to LGBT Issues to Drive Governors' Races in Indiana, NC

Image: Dems Look to LGBT Issues to Drive Governors' Races in Indiana, NC

Democratic Indiana gubernatorial candidate John Gregg with Indianapolis state Rep. Christina Hale, his running mate, during a news conference on Wednesday, May 25, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

By    |   Monday, 01 Aug 2016 01:23 PM

Democrats are going on the offensive in the Indiana and North Carolina gubernatorial campaigns, challenging Republicans over LGBT rights issues.

The Indiana GOP lost its best chance of retaining the seat when Donald Trump chose Gov. Mike Pence for his running mate, leaving to Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb the task of defeating Democratic challenger John Gregg, a former Speaker of Indiana's House of Representatives. Gregg came close to beating Pence in 2012.

"You really can't distinguish on paper between Holcomb and Pence. They both support the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and discrimination against the LGBT community," Gregg told The Wall Street Journal last week, referring to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

"The idea that Mike Pence isn't on the ballot, well, the issues are still the same."

Pence's approval ratings sank to 40 percent after signing the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act last year. The law lets businesses and individuals use their religious beliefs as a defense in lawsuits over denying services, which the LGBT community views as discrimination.

By equating Holcomb with Pence, Gregg is putting LGBT issues at the forefront of his campaign.

Holcomb's spokesman, Pete Seat, tried to distance his candidate from the governor.

"This is a man who has built his own network, his own record, his own persona over the last several years, and that's why people are so excited about him."

In North Carolina, Democrats are targeting Gov. Pat McCrory, who in March signed a law mandating that people use public facilities including bathrooms that correspond to the sex listed on their birth certificate rather than their gender identity.

The law quickly gained national attention, and caused businesses like PayPal to reconsider moving into the state, musicians to cancel performances, and the National Basketball Association to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game.

McCrory faces Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper, who The Charlotte Observer reports has $3 million more in his campaign account than the governor has in his war chest. Cooper has also raised $4 million more than McCrory so far.

"Today's fundraising numbers show a strong grassroots enthusiasm for Roy Cooper for governor," Cooper spokesman Jamal Little said in announcing that the campaign raised $5.1 million in this year's second quarter, compared with McCrory's $3.2 million.

"An unprecedented number of North Carolinians are fed up with Gov. McCrory's partisan political agenda, and voters are ready for a leader who will put the interests of all North Carolinians first."

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Democrats are going on the offensive in the Indiana and North Carolina gubernatorial campaigns, challenging Republicans over LGBT rights issues.
Dems, LGBT, Governor Races, Indiana, North Carolina
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2016-23-01
Monday, 01 Aug 2016 01:23 PM
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