October 15, 2016 at 9:35 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
For first time in 25 years, N.C. newspaper won’t endorse McCrory
Pat McCrory, Republican Party, South Carolina, same-sex marriage, gay marriage, marriage equality, gay news, Washington Blade

For the first time in 25 years, the Charlotte Observer won’t endorse Gov. Pat McCrory (R-N.C.). (Photo by Hal Goodtree; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Before North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law the anti-LGBT House Bill 2, he had a decades long career as a politician that consists of six years on the Charlotte City Council, 14 years as Charlotte mayor and three years as governor.

Each time he sought election or re-election to his post, the Charlotte Observer has endorsed McCrory. But in the wake of his decision to sign the anti-LGBT law, the newspaper on Friday declined to endorse him in his bid for re-election.

“McCrory’s term as North Carolina governor is the ultimate illustration of the Peter Principle: that people are promoted based on their past performance and not the abilities needed for the new role and thus rise to the level of their incompetence,” the paper writes. “McCrory has certainly done that.”

Instead, the Charlotte Observer has declared support for his opponent, Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper, who has pledged to repeal House Bill 2 and supports LGBT non-discrimination protections.

“Fortunately, voters have a superior option in Democrat Roy Cooper,” the paper writes. “A Morehead Scholar at UNC, a former Senate majority leader and a four-term attorney general, Cooper has the experience, the intelligence and the policy stances needed to return the state to its stature as a progressive leader in the South.”

The top reason cited by the Charlotte Observer for declining to endorse McCrory is House Bill 2. Since McCrory signed hte law, North Carolina’s reputation has been “melting,” the paper says.

“McCrory adamantly defends the discriminatory measure and dismisses the NCAA, the ACC, scores of business executives and others who have condemned the legislation,” the paper says. “It was a hateful and self-defeating bill, and it will be McCrory’s legacy.”

Signed by McCrory in March after a single day of deliberation by the state legislature, House Bill 2 bars cities from enacting pro-LGBT non-discrimination ordinances, reversing one recently enacted in Charlotte, and prohibits transgender people from using the bathrooms in schools and government buildings consistent with their gender identity.

Also cited as reasons by the Charlotte Observer to decline to support McCrory is his institution of greater restrictions on abortions and voting rights, his refusal to accept the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, the need for a check on the legislature and the “integrity, education and experience” of Cooper.

Jamal Little, a Cooper campaign spokesperson, said the candidate “is proud” to receive the endorsement of McCrory’s home town newspaper.

“We’ve seen time and time again Gov. McCrory put his partisan, political agenda ahead of the best interests of our state, and that’s not leadership,” Little said. “North Carolinians deserve a strong leader who will prioritize our schools, grow our economy, and build a better North Carolina.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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