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Tuesday, April 29, 2008


posted by on April 29 at 11:19 AM

The Human Rights Campaign—they’re the mainstream gay rights group with all the money and the little blue equal bumper stickers—has refused to endorse the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for US Senate in North Carolina. His name is Jim Neal and he’s a homo.

Jim Neal, a progressive Democrat in North Carolina, is running to take on Senator Elizabeth Dole. He was the only Democrat running for the nomination until the National Democratic Party found out he was gay. The DSCC freaked, and recruited a Republican-lite candidate named Kay Hagan to run for the nomination (she originally refused to run). Basically, everyone in Washington DC is freaked that there is a openly gay candidate who actually has a shot of winning the Dem nomination on May 6th.

Jim Neal is supported by many here in North Carolina. He’s a businessman/investment banker, so he has financial sense. He also is progressive on many issues. He’s an amazing speaker in person, and would really put Elizabeth Dole on her toes.

Why won’t HRC endorse Neal? Well, when the DNC says jump, HRC leaps into low-earth orbit.

spnjeep at Kos points out that Jim Neal backs equal rights for teh gays, while his opponent in the Democratic primary refuses to answer any questions about her views on gay civil equality. So this endorsement would seem to be a no-brainer for which HRC would be over-qualified.

Still… it seems to me that not receiving the endorsement of the nation’s largest gay rights group might actually help Neal with North Carolina voters. He should point to HRC’s refusal to endorse him as proof that he doesn’t march in lock-step with gay rights groups, blah blah blah, and that their non-endorsement is proof that he’s not a single-issue candidate.

RSS icon Comments


"Useless" is right. I haven't given a crap about what the HRC has to say in a long, long, long time. They're nothing but a money sink. They should be studiously ignored at all times.

Posted by Providence | April 29, 2008 11:28 AM

HRC = Log Cabin Democrats?

Posted by dbell | April 29, 2008 11:28 AM


I stopped donating to them when I found out that their main supporters are rich gay men who throw money at a lobbying group rather than coming out of the closet and fighting for equal rights themselves.

Posted by boxofbirds | April 29, 2008 11:29 AM

The DNC is not the same as the DSCC, and it was the DSCC that freaked. Dean and Schumer are often at odds, actually. I would be surprised if Dean had a problem with Jim Neal running. You'd expect Schumer to, though.

Posted by spencer | April 29, 2008 11:33 AM

@1: Agreed.

This sort of candidate should be EXACTLY who HRC and others such as the Victory Fund should be supporting, particularly if his Dem opponent has not taken a stand.

Dan, I get your point about HRC not stepping in and helping him as political strategy. However, NC is a lot like Virginia- parts of it are real backwaters, and parts of it (like the research triangle) are more progressive. That tactic in Alabama- sure. In NC? A lot less sure.

Posted by Dave Coffman | April 29, 2008 12:13 PM

Quit bitching: start a revolution and help Jim out.

Posted by Sierra Alpha Mike | April 29, 2008 1:55 PM

Thanks for reminding me why I stopped giving to the HRC!

Posted by Will in 98103 | April 29, 2008 2:01 PM

That's not the full story, Dan. Kay Hagan is a good candidate too, not "Republican-lite" and Neal has no chance of winning the Dem nomination in North Carolina. I can see why HRC would be uninterested in throwing their money and endorsement down the drain on a candidate who thinks he deserves their endorsement because he is gay.

Posted by lorax | April 29, 2008 3:28 PM

And it's grossly misleading and factually incorrect to say that Jim Neal is the "leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for US Senate in North Carolina" when Kay Hagan leads all the polls.

Posted by lorax | April 29, 2008 3:31 PM

Considering that HRC has almost exactly the inverse of the ratio of overhead to programming charities are supposed to have, they fail in every respect and deserve not a penny.

Posted by Gitai | April 29, 2008 5:52 PM

Neal is a disorganized amateur with not a chance in the world of being a Senator. HRC and others are wise to use their donor's money -- and their reputations -- responsibly by supporting candidates with an actual chance of winning. There are plenty of good, organized gay candidates out there without adequate funds and support. They should be the focus.

The "movement" needs to grow up to the realities of actually winning campaigns.

Posted by baltboy | April 30, 2008 8:49 AM

Is HRC here to support gays or Democrats? I could even understand their reluctance to support a Log Cabin type over a gay-friendly Democrat, but supporting a non-gay friendly Democrat over a gay one, and one with a potential to win, makes you wonder whom they serve.

HRC has outlived its usefulness. They are enjoying being Washington insiders too much to care about the lives of ordinary gay Americans.

Posted by AxelDC | April 30, 2008 9:10 AM

Don't confuse DNC with DSCC. What Spencer said.

Posted by mikem | April 30, 2008 10:01 AM

Dan, I'm no fan of HRC, but as a gay North Carolinian, I have to point out that you are incorrect on several points. Jim Neal is not leading in any credible poll. He cannot and will not win for a variety of factors having nothing to do with his sexual orientation. He's a good man and a smart guy, but he's an amateur who has been back in NC a few years after 20 or more years away. Kay Hagan, during her 10 or so years in the NC Senate, has been very good on LGBT issues, doing a lot of work to keep a gay marriage amendment from ever going to a statewide referendum. She was also very vocal in support of controversial safe schools legislation that provided for protection on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Your sources are misleading you. Kay has the support of a lot of gay North Carolinians for a reason. Kay may not be as far to the left as Jim, but the Republican-lite thing is just wrong.

Posted by Andy | April 30, 2008 11:25 AM

I stopped being a member HRC because of their constant Self Applauding themselves, asking for money every day in an email etc. I give to gay groups, I fight for gay causes, I just am fed up with the HRC.

Posted by Brad | April 30, 2008 2:56 PM

Umm, the only gay candidate that ran for 43rd district for the Washington state house of representatives was Jamie Pedersen -- and Dan Savage and The Stranger endorsed the teenage Republican opponent!

I might add Jamie Pedersen got a domestic partner bill passed after taking office.

Posted by D. | April 30, 2008 7:00 PM

It's the concentric gay firing squad where we shoot ourselves instead of defeating the radical right.

HRC is a sound political operation. I don't always agree with them but I'm tired of them being criticized every time they make a difficult decision.

It's also a little annoying that every time an LGBT organization doesn't back an openly gay candidate they get blasted. Viability is an important standard in deciding whom to support.

I donate to HRC because I think they get the job done and I donate to more idealistic LGBT organizations because I think we need groups pushing the envelope to make HRC's job easier to raise awareness of issues not yet ripe for action. But, I'm increasingly unwilling to give my dollars to organizations that blast HRC when they should be blasting the radical right.

I think the point about Jamie Pedersen is spot on. Jamie has become on of the legislature’s shining stars during his freshman term. He has propelled the issue of marriage equality forward in Olympia, successfully worked for the passage of two domestic partnership bills and a host of other legislation important to his district and the state. How can those who did not back the lead attorney in Washington's marriage equality case now complain that HRC is not backing an openly gay candidate?

Posted by Achilles | May 1, 2008 12:25 AM

I don't see why someone called "new" is a problem. Jim Neal didn't get to where he is at by blowing the log cabins he got there on merit. I personally vote for whoever is/has been a supported for gay rights I don't care if they're a purple alien from pluto as long as they are willing to put themselves out there to fight for what is right.

The HRC does get alot of crap from us and some of it is rightly deserved but don't underscore they good they've done.

Posted by Stepen | May 1, 2008 8:20 AM

We've posted more background on HRC's process for endorsing elected officials and candidates on HRC's Back Story blog: The Human Rights Campaign's 'Year to Win': Policy behind the Politics

Posted by HRC Back Story | May 2, 2008 10:08 AM

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