Chelsea Clinton touts pro-equality voter efforts on Charlotte campaign stop

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Chelsea Clinton appeared at a town hall-style meeting in Charlotte on Saturday with LGBTQ civil rights advocates to highlight the importance of getting out the pro-equality vote in Tuesday’s election.

“In my heart, this is the most consequential election of my lifetime,” the 36-year-old daughter of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said.

Electing her mom and other pro-equality supporters such as Democrat Roy Cooper for N.C. governor is crucial to ensuring that her two young children grow up in a country where all are treated equally, Chelsea Clinton said.

She spoke at a closed-door meeting at the AvidXchange Music Factory organized by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization. The Human Rights Campaign endorsed Hillary Clinton in January.

In North Carolina, the organization also supports Democratic candidates Deborah Ross for U.S. Senate, Josh Stein for attorney general and Linda Coleman for lieutenant governor, as well as candidates for the General Assembly.

North Carolina has more than 255,000 LGBTQ voters, according to the Human Rights Campaign. That’s a critical number, the group said, in a state that President Barack Obama won by just 14,000 votes in 2008.

The LGBTQ community is a key part of Hillary Clinton’s electoral coalition, one which her campaign is counting on to turn out in big numbers in early voting and on Election Day. During her campaign stops in North Carolina, Clinton has spoken out against House Bill 2 as discriminatory, hurtful to the state’s image and a drag on the N.C. economy.

“Discrimination is not only wrong, it’s bad for business,” she said during a September rally at Charlotte’s Johnson C. Smith University.

To applause on Saturday, Chelsea Clinton thanked “all of you who have already voted for my mom.... I’m constantly talking to people across our country about how important it is to vote up and down the ballot, and you understand that probably more than anyone else does at this moment in time.

“So thank you for what you’re doing to make the case about why this election is the most important of our lifetime, while also recognizing that all elections really matter.”

Clinton cited two stories from along the campaign trail that she said illustrate “why we have to defeat Donald Trump.”

About six weeks ago, a Pennsylvania woman who supports her mom told Clinton about emigrating from Guatemala 12 years ago and getting a graduate degree from Penn State. She did so to provide a better life to her then 6-month-old son. She got a job, and both she and her son are “proud American citizens,” she told Clinton.

But at least three kids told him at school recently to “go back to Mexico” and, “Can’t wait to build a wall to keep people like you out.”

“I didn’t know I could hear anything more heartbreaking than that,” she said.

But then, a girl in North Carolina grabbed her hand one day and said, “Your mom must win.” One, she told Chelsea Clinton, it’s time for a girl. But also because of what boys in her school told her: That if Donald Trump wins, her dad “will have to go back in the closet.”

“No child should ever be bullied,” Clinton told the crowd. “No child should ever have to worry about the safety of their parents.”

Clinton’s visit didn’t go unnoticed by the Republican National Committee, whose N.C. spokeswoman, Kara Carter, issued a statement several hours before Clinton’s appearance.

“How can Chelsea Clinton make the case that her mother should be trusted with the White House when deleted emails recovered by the FBI show Hillary Clinton even sent her one containing classified information?” Carter asked. “The reality is Hillary Clinton recklessly jeopardized our national security in order to hide the pay-to-play corruption at her State Department and North Carolinians deserve better.”

Staff Writer Tim Funk contributed.

Joe Marusak: 704-987-3670, @jmarusak