Democratic National Committee leaked emails show how staffers tried to use North Carolina’s HB2 law to leverage political capital in the state – including with a possible appearance by Vice President Joe Biden.
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.
A tentative plan to have Biden speak at a Repeal HB2 Rally this spring was made public Friday when WikiLeaks released about 20,000 emails from top Democratic National Committee officials. Committee staff described Biden as “a valuable messenger to help the public connect with” the issue.
The DNC would like to hold a Repeal HB2 Rally featuring Vice President Joe Biden.
Democratic National Convention email
An email sent by DNC Chief Financial Officer Brad Marshall to DNC National Finance Director Jordan Kaplan on April 27 contains a draft version of the plan.
“The DNC would like to hold a Repeal HB2 Rally featuring Vice President Joe Biden,” the plan states. “This will be the first major speech on the subject by a national figure and will help us frame this anti-LGBT effort from a partisan perspective. The LGBT community recognizes the Vice President as being pivotal in helping the ‘marriage equality evolution’ reach a turning point.”
The rally was to take place after the General Assembly’s short session began in Raleigh on April 25. That session adjourned on July 1. The rally was supposed to take place in Raleigh and feature Democratic candidates for the Senate, governor’s race and legislative contests.
The Democratic National Committee did not immediately respond to questions about why the plan fell through.
The email also suggested a possible fundraising event, a lunch reception and photo line following the HB2 Repeal Rally. Guests would have been required to pay $150 to $2,500 to attend the event and co-hosts of the event would have had to pay $10,000 each to participate, with the option of saving money by paying $15,000 as a couple. The Democratic National Committee had hoped to raise $200,000, according to the draft plan.
More broadly, the leaked emails show Democratic National Committee staff kept a close eye on North Carolina’s politicians. One email references poll numbers for the Senate seat currently held by Republican Sen. Richard Burr, which showed that he was polling better than Democratic contender Deborah Ross by a small margin. Staffers focused on a poll that indicated that Burr had a 40 percent voter approval rating and Ross had a rating of 36 percent.
Additionally, staff had an unfavorable view of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and tried to use his stance on the LGBT community and HB2 against him. A vulgar description of the governor appears in a May 8 email conversation between former DNC media booker Pablo Manriquez and Akshai Bhatnagar, a video research associate at the committee. The conversation centers on sending part of a McCrory interview to a political show.
“If there’s anything else we should add – especially within the realm of video content – about this moronic little bigot of a tarheel governor or the bathrooms they’re using to distract from their epic failings as human beings and party officials, let me know,” the email states. “No idea who else on Comm_D would have relevant information for crafting a decent hit piece on the pro-prejudice backwater of the NC statehouse…but if you do, feel free to slack it to me! Thanks!”
McCrory has previously defended his stance on shared bathroom facilities, stating that HB2 doesn’t discriminate against the transgender community.
Maggie Ybarra, 202-383-6048 @MolotovFlicker