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LGBT rights groups endorse candidates

The two gay and transgender rights organizations leading the battle against House Bill 2 in North Carolina endorsed candidates for the state legislature on Thursday.

The Human Rights Campaign, which has been organizing in the state since the passage of HB2 in March, and Equality N.C. think their candidates have a good shot at unseating incumbent Republicans and retaining key Democratic seats based on the numbers.

An HRC spokesman says there are more than 300,000 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender adults living in North Carolina. The margin of victory in the last three presidential elections was about 180,000 votes.

HRC issued a statement with the endorsements citing national polling that shows support for LGBT protections.

The two organizations are also teaming up to get out the vote in North Carolina. None of their 15 endorsements are Republicans.

They include incumbent state senators Jay Chaudhuri of Raleigh, Jeff Jackson of Charlotte and Joyce Waddell of Newell. They are endorsing Susan Evans of Cary, who is running against Republican Sen. Tamara Barringer, who this week called for the repeal of HB2 because of the economic impact of sports, entertainment, conference and contract cancellations.

Others endorsed are incumbents Rep. John Ager of Fairview and Rep. Brian Turner of Asheville, and challengers Cynthia Ball, Chaz Beasley, Mary Belk, Jane Campbell (who is unaffiliated), Sue Counts, Terence Everitt, Jennifer Ferrell, Joe John and Rochelle Rivas.

The groups have previously endorsed Attorney General Roy Cooper for governor and Hillary Clinton for president.

Craig Jarvis: 919-829-4576, @CraigJ_NandO