Politics & Government

NC GOP says leaked emails show Democrats ‘celebrated’ losses over HB2

State GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse talking to reporters about the leaked DNC emails.
State GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse talking to reporters about the leaked DNC emails. svodnala@charlotteobserver.com

The North Carolina Republican Party said emails released by WikiLeaks showed Democrats “celebrated” the economic damage caused by House Bill 2 and revealed “intentional sabotage” to the state’s economy by Democrats.

One of the leaked emails, released by Wikileaks, showed that a Democratic Party staffer wrote “Awesome” in an email thread about the cancellation of a Pearl Jam concert. Another had a Democratic Party official refer to Gov. Pat McCrory as a “moronic little bigot of a tarheel governor.”

Gov. Pat McCrory said Tuesday in Raleigh that the state and the city of Charlotte were “being used as a pawn” by Attorney General Roy Cooper, the Democratic candidate for governor; Mayor Jennifer Roberts and the Democratic Party to raise money.

“They’ve created the issue. They raised money on the issue, and then they cheered – literally cheered – when businesses would boycott our great state, or when entertainers would boycott,” McCrory said.

State GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse held a press conference Tuesday in Charlotte with county GOP officials and a few small-business owners.

Woodhouse said the emails show the Democratic Party had politicized the issue from the start.

“They celebrated when pain was inflicted on the people of North Carolina,” Woodhouse said. “They tried to cause a political firestorm no matter the cost. The blood is on their hands.”

HB2 requires transgender people in government facilities to use the restroom that matches the gender on their birth certificate. It was adopted in an emergency session of the General Assembly in March. The law also blocks local governments from passing nondiscrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people that are more sweeping than state law.

Claire Mahoney, Mecklenburg County GOP chair, said the Democrats were using the HB2 issue to create a “nationally orchestrated, nationally implemented” campaign to help Cooper and Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate.

The state Democratic Party dismissed the GOP’s allegations.

“There is no evidence to back up these ridiculous claims,” state Democratic Party spokesperson Dave Miranda said.

“The job losses and economic damage from HB2 are the responsibility of the GOP led legislature and the Republican governor who signed this bill,” Miranda said. “Now the GOP is turning around and pretending that Democrats are somehow responsible.”

North Carolina’s House Bill 2 is driving away business and hurting the entire country’s reputation, Raleigh entrepreneur Jesse Lipson of Citrix told the Democratic National Convention Monday night.

Craig Jarvis of the (Raleigh) News & Observer contributed.