WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) today unveiled their nationwide mobilizing effort for the 2008 election. The announcement came with the release of the organization’s first endorsements in the 2008 election in 14 Senate races across the country.
Among the various endorsements, LGBT North Carolinians will notice a strange absence. HRC did not endorse openly gay U.S. Senate candidate Jim Neal.
“There are a couple of primaries that we are still taking a look at,” Solmonese told Q-Notes in a conference call Monday. “Hagan is in leadership in the legislature there. She has a good record. It is a tough race to call.”
Solmonese said that a lot of people are certainly following Neal’s campaign but “our community in North Carolina is really rather split between him and Kay Hagan.”
Solmonese said HRC’s election efforts in North Carolina would include increased investment in membership. He added that North Carolina is a state where the organization has been successful in attracting high membership and support.
Democratic strategist Paul Begala joined Solmonese on the call and discussed the state of the national electorate and stressed the importance of electing pro-civil rights leaders.
“The political tides have shifted in our direction but were not taking anything for granted this year,” Solmonese told reporters. “Since 2004 we’ve held key votes in employment non-discrimination and hate crimes legislation. HRC is working from the ground up to increase our margin of pro-equality leaders in Washington.”
Begala said the tide in favor of LGBT equality is being pushed by an “all out rejection” of the Bush Administration and its failures. He claims Sen. John McCain is following right in Bush’s footsteps.
What do people think of when they think of the word “change,” Begala asked. “Is the mental image you conjure up a 70-year-old white man who’s been in Washington for 30 years?”
HRC will be launching “Camp Equality,” a program designed to provide state-of-the-art campaign training for more than 1,500 participants in 13 cities across the country and to help deploy trainees to targeted campaigns.
The organization’s Election 08 website, www.hrc.org/YearToWin, will serve as a new “one-stop shopping” election resource that will allow visitors to gauge the political landscape of each state, donate to candidates, access the latest news and information on LGBT issues in the campaigns and view a report card on where the candidates stand on key issues in the race for the White House.
The organization will also attend more than 100 Pride events to further Get Out the Vote efforts.
2008 U.S. Senate Human Rights Campaign endorsements (April 28, 2008):
Max Baucus, D-MT
Joe Biden, D-DE
Susan Collins, R-ME
Dick Durbin, D-IL
Al Franken, D-MN
Tom Harkin, D-IA
John Kerry, D-MA
Mary Landrieu, D-LA
Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ
Carl Levin, D-MI
Jack Reed, D-RI
Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH
Mark Udall, D-CO
Tom Udall, D-NM