N.C. GOP file complaint over Charlotte Observer HB2 forum

The N.C. GOP has filed an elections board complaint over a forum on HB2 being put on by the Charlotte Observer and Charlotte-area marketing firm Red Ventures.

The forum, being held tonight, will include LGBT gay advocates as well as former Republican Charlotte mayor Richard Vinroot. Mitch Kokai of the conservative John Locke Foundation will also participate.

From the News & Observer piece on the complaint:

The complaint alleges that the forum’s “proximity in time to the general election and its focus on an issue repeatedly raised by the democrat party and Roy Cooper belies the true purpose and motivation behind the event.”

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who is seeking reelection, has defended HB2. Cooper, however, has called for the law to be repealed, saying it has caused significant economic damage.

Red Ventures CEO Ric Elias and his wife, Brenda, have contributed $20,400 to Cooper’s campaign during the 2016 primary and general election cycles, the complaint notes. Elias also gave $1,000 to McCrory.

The Observer’s editorial board has endorsed Cooper, in addition to 25 other Democrats and 10 Republicans.

Observer Executive Editor Rick Thames said, “It’s ludicrous to suggest that this is anything other than a forum to help voters.

“We’ve made every effort possible to make this a forum that represents all views.”

The Observer’s newsroom determined the content of the forum without any influence from Red Ventures, Thames said.

The News & Record in Greensboro is also organizing a forum on gender identity on November 15, though that event will be after the election and will not focus exclusively on HB2.


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