Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine said the state’s Republican leadership has turned North Carolina into a “poster child state for bigotry” during an unannounced visit at a debate watching party in uptown Charlotte Wednesday.
Kaine, who had a rally in Asheville earlier in the day, will campaign in Charlotte and Durham Thursday, the first day of early voting. His Charlotte event is at noon at Heist Brewery in NoDa.
The debate party at Murphy’s Kitchen and Tap in Charlotte also included U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, D-Charlotte, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin and N.C. Rep. Chris Sgro, who heads Equality NC, a gay rights organization.
Kaine told supporters that the presidential contest normally drives everything else on a state’s ballot.
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“In North Carolina, you are the one state where this is different,” he said. “In North Carolina progressives here are so furious about the leadership of this state, that has turned a state with a proud progressive tradition into a poster child state for bigotry.”
Among other issues, he mentioned House Bill 2. That law nullified a Charlotte ordinance that would have extended legal protections to LGBTQ individuals.
“The outcome here is going to say: ‘This is not who we are here. We are a progressive state, proud of progressive values,’ ” he said.
“You’ve got this election right in the palm of your hands. If you produce a North Carolina vote for Hillary Clinton, this thing’s over. She’s going to be president.”