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The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) REFUSES to support Jim Neal, an openly gay candidate in North Carolina running for US Senate.  Something fishy seems to be going on.  Is the DSCC interfering in a Democratic Primary election?

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.  Here's what the North Carolina Triangle Independent Newspaper says about Jim Neal...

http://www.indyweek.com/...

Jim Neal for US Senate

On the issues, there's a clear progressive choice in the Democratic
primary: Chapel Hill businessman Jim Neal is our pick to take on
Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole come November. And let's put it right
out there: Neal is openly gay, which should no more influence whether
he gets your vote than the fact that he's also openly white. What
should influence it is his platform: Neal opposed the U.S. invasion of
Iraq and supports getting our troops out now; he supports universal
health care; is against capital punishment; wants to scrap No Child
Left Behind, Bush's counterproductive education program; proposes
making the federal tax system more progressive; and advocates an
Apollo-style program to wean the country from imported oil and develop
alternative-energy sources, including conservation.

On gay rights, Neal supports full equality, including marriage, as a
matter of law. But he also recognizes that the First Amendment
guarantees religious freedom when it comes to whether same-sex unions
should be sanctioned by various faiths.

Given his background as a Wall Street investment banker and venture
capitalist, Neal is at his best when dissecting the causes of the
nation's widening gap between rich and poor and the erosion of middle-
class jobs. He calls it "unconscionable" that corporate CEOs make 400
times as much money as the average worker. His prescription for fixing
what ails us includes sweeping investments in education and our
economic infrastructure, not war, and for junking free-trade policies
in favor of fair-trade ones. He thinks the federal government should
prepare to buy mortgages and refinance them to prevent foreclosures.

Neal is hardly a perfect candidate. He's never run for office, can be
long-winded and abstract about policy, and while he grew up in North
Carolina, he's lived elsewhere most of his adult life. He acknowledges
that his business life has had its ups and, recently, some downs. He's
not rich, and has had trouble raising money despite having been a top
fundraiser for the '04 Democratic ticket of Kerry-Edwards.

That said, Neal didn't get into this race until every potential
"establishment" candidate from Gov. Mike Easley on down had walked
away from it. That includes state Sen. Kay Hagan, D-Guilford, who
announced that she wouldn't run, but changed her mind a few weeks later
—after Neal declared. Party leaders in Washington and Raleigh quickly
endorsed her; the inescapable conclusion was that they feared having a
gay candidate on the ticket.

Anyway, turns out the Human Rights Campaign refuses to endorse Jim Neal for the primary.  They endorsed in many Senate races, but not in North Carolina.  JIM NEAL IS AN OPENLY GAY CANDIDATE RUNNING FOR ONE OF THE HIGHEST OFFICES IN THE LAND.  Also, Jim Neal is all about LGBT equal rights, while his opponent refuses to answer questions about her LGBT views.  Why didn't the HRC endorse Jim Neal then?   SOMETHING FISHY IS GOING ON.  I wonder if the National Dems/DSCC had something to do with it.  They have been trying to sink Jim Neal's candidacy from the very start.

Here is an article from the Washington Blade about this strange situation...

http://washblade.com/...

HRC endorses 14 for U.S. Senate
Gay N.C. candidate not among those winning support
By JOSHUA LYNSEN, Washington Blade | Apr 28, 3:07 PM

The Human Rights Campaign is endorsing 14 contenders for U.S. Senate, but an openly gay candidate from North Carolina is not among them.

Jim Neal, who’s seeking the Democratic nod to run against Republican incumbent Sen. Elizabeth Dole, was not among the endorsements HRC announced Monday. The organization backed no candidates in that race.

Joe Solmonese, HRC president, said the organization would wait until after North Carolina holds its primary May 6 before endorsing Neal or his main primary opponent, veteran state Sen. Kay Hagan.

"She has a good record," he said. "It’s a tough race to call in terms of the primary, and so I think, you know, our community down there — sometimes sitting here in Washington, Jim Neal is certainly someone who a lot of people have really been following here in Washington as an openly gay candidate, but our community down in North Carolina is really rather split between him and Kay Hagan. So we’ve got another ... couple of weeks, and we’re going to wait and see who the nominee is before we make a decision there."

Neal said he would have liked to have won HRC’s endorsement, but was unsurprised by his omission from the list.

"HRC hasn’t really been supportive of the campaign for their own reasons, and they’re entitled to do so," he said. "But elections are won not by endorsements, but by votes. That’s just how it works. I’m not trying to rack up endorsements. I’m trying to rack up votes."

Neal, who was statistically tied with Hagan in this month’s SurveyUSA poll of 725 North Carolina adults who are likely to vote in the primary, also has not won the endorsement of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.

"I’ve always said that voting for me because I’m gay is not good enough reason," he said. "Maybe I’m not gay enough. I don’t know."

Lesbian blogger Pam Spaulding, a North Carolina resident, criticized the decision not to back Neal.

"I think it's unfortunate based on the clear differences between the candidates in their approaches to LGBT issues in this campaign," she wrote.

And here is an article from the Huffington Post about this unbelievable oversight...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

HRC Has Some Bad Political Advice For Gay People
Posted April 28, 2008 | 05:06 PM (EST)
Howie Klein

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is an inside the Beltway advocacy group for gay people. I was very proud in 1997 when they gave me a leadership equality award for my work at fostering equality in the workplace at Warner Brothers. I even wrote them into my will.

But what opened my eyes to what HRC has become -- an insider establishment bunch of kiss-asses -- was their endorsement of Holy Joe Lieberman over Ned Lamont in 2006. After I learned more about them, I smashed my award and removed them from my will. HRC is one of those inside the Beltway organizations that has long ago lost sight of its original idealistic mandate. Instead of fighting for gay equality, they fight to win DC status games and to enhance the future career prospects of the top staffers. When it comes to electoral politics, you can almost always expect the worst from them....

Today HRC announced its endorsements for Senate races around the country...But it was a Senate race they chose to ignore that is the most shocking and disappointing element of their announcement today. North Carolina has two extreme right wing senators, Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr, each of whom can always be counted on to do whatever they can to make the lives of gay men and women less palatable and less safe. One, Elizabeth Dole, is up for re-election in November. There are two Democrats in a neck and neck primary battle to take her on, Republican-lite establishment-backed Kay Hagan and grassroots progressive Jim Neal. Frankly, I don't know where Hagan stands on gay issues (although North Carolina blogger Pam Spaudling sure does). I do know where Neal stands-- 100% with the gay community, of which he is an upfront member. Yes, one of the first times that an uncloseted gay man is running for the U.S. Senate -- in a race he can win -- and HRC is... abstaining. When we reached Jim this morning, he seemed disappointed. "There's no question their endorsement would have helped in fundraising and I certainly would have liked to have had it. People look to the HRC to encourage participation and promote change in the political system. Is it doing that? That's a valid question, and after this election is over, I think we need to look at groups like HRC and their endorsement process." Amen!

Joe Solomnese, I want my HRC membership dues back.  How the hell can HRC not endorse an amazing pragmatic, passionate, progressive, grassroots candidate who is openly gay?  

What does everyone else think?  I think there is some fishy politics going on here.

Originally posted to spnj889 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:39 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm surprised. (5+ / 0-)

    I've been a member of HRC for a while now. They always send me e-mails in support of equality legislation. I would expect more of them, if this man really is as qualified as the article made it sound.

    "Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity." -George Carlin

    by NMDad on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:48:53 PM PDT

  •  Jim Neal Article from Raleigh News and Observer (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chun Yang, Mz Kleen, blueoasis, NCDem Amy

    Here's some more info on Jim Neal from the big Raleigh newspaper...

    http://www.newsobserver.com/...

    Neal banks on 'change' year
    Money man runs lean campaign, takes heart from Obama
    Rob Christensen, Staff Writer

    WINSTON-SALEM - Even while he was pursuing high finance on Wall Street, Hollywood and Silicon Valley, Jim Neal always had one eye trained on a political career.

    After returning home to North Carolina in 2006, Neal wasted little time in plunging into a U.S. Senate race that scared away most of the state's big-name Democrats: taking on Republican U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

    Neal is running as a political outsider, a newcomer hoping to ride the national mood for change, for new faces and for nontraditional candidates. At a time when Democrats nationally -- and in North Carolina -- are wrestling with whether to nominate a black candidate or a woman for president, Neal is seeking to become the second openly gay Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in American history.

    Despite his background in big business and large-scale political fundraising, Neal says he has fewer ties to special interests than other candidates. Neal's major rival in the May 6 Democratic primary is state Sen. Kay Hagan of Greensboro, who has the backing of much of the party establishment. Three other Democrats are waging lower-profile, long-shot campaigns for the nomination.

    "This is the year when Americans will own our democracy," Neal recently told a Democratic gathering in Winston-Salem.

    On Tuesday, Neal endorsed Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential race, part of a continuing effort by Neal supporters to draw a parallel between the Obama and Neal campaigns.

    Neal is running a low-budget campaign. He is relying on many personal appearances and courting the so-called netroots, who write blogs and raise money online. But polls suggest that Neal is little known, and he has run little television advertising.

    Son of the South

    Neal grew up in Greensboro. On the campaign trail and in his literature, Neal delivers a pitch familiar to followers of former Sen. John Edwards, emphasizing that Neal is the grandson of a textile mill worker and a carpenter. His father, James Neal Sr., was a small-time entrepreneur who ran a life insurance agency and started a series of businesses. There were times when the family was flush and other times when it was served with eviction notices.

    "Dad was like Willie Loman," Neal said, referring to the striving salesman in the Arthur Miller play. "Dad always wanted to hit a home run. He had successes and failures."

    His father wanted Neal to stay in the South and help him with his businesses. Neal wanted to strike out on his own on Wall Street.

    Neal spent most of his career as an investment banker with Salomon Brothers, E.F. Hutton, Bear Stearns and, later, Piper Jaffray. In his early years, Neal advised mainly financial institutions, including Bank of America, American Express, Lincoln National and Transamerica. He advises companies on how to obtain financing for expansions, mergers or acquisitions. Neal later moved on to work with companies involved with health care, pharmaceuticals, biotech and high tech, which took him to California for 12 years.

    'He would want results'

    Neal had the reputation of a hard-driving dealmaker, as someone who was inquisitive and interested in new technology.

    "He is excellent in raising money for people," said Brice Voran, a corporate attorney who now lives in Michigan and worked with Neal on deals for more than 20 years. "He is one of the more innovative bankers I've ever worked with. He likes to push things hard. He likes to get things done."

    "In the public sector, he would want results. He would not be interested in keeping the seat warm."

    In 1999, Neal moved from advising companies to managing them. He became chief executive officer of RxMarketplace, a Colorado-based startup company designed to provide pharmacists with up-to-the-minute online information on generic drug prices.

    But the company, which had 50 to 75 employees at its peak and $11 million in investments, lasted only about two years. The promised $100 million in financing dried up, and the company shut its doors, one of many dot-coms that went under during that period.

    "It was wrong in terms of timing," Neal said.

    Afterward, Neal became interim CEO of 451 Inc., a company that contracted to run the business side of entertainment companies. He was head of the company for less than a year when it was sold.

    Neal said he has been "a millionaire and a pauper" in his life. He said it is no longer important that he has less money than he once did. "Money ceased to be a holy grail of my life some time ago," Neal said. "One thing I learned is that money did not buy happiness."

    After his setbacks in California, Neal moved to New York in 2000. For a while he lived in Harlem, in part because he was going through a tough period financially and housing there was less expensive. He created his own financial consulting firm, Agema, which he now runs out of his home.

    Out but private

    Getting off the corporate fast track has freed Neal to spend more time with his two children, become more involved in volunteer efforts -- such as soup kitchens and homeless shelters -- and enter politics.

    After a decade of marriage to his wife, Suzanne, the union broke up nearly 20 years ago when Neal realized he was gay. Neal said there was no sham to his marriage but that it took a number of years for him to acknowledge his sexuality.

    After the divorce, Neal retained custody of his two sons, who are now adults. One son still lives with him. Neal has a partner but has declined to discuss any relationships, saying he has built a firewall around his personal life.

    Neal's has tapped into a national gay network for fundraising house parties and other events.

    Neal doesn't think his sexual orientation will hurt him in culturally conservative North Carolina. "Anybody who wouldn't vote for me because of my sexual orientation," Neal said, "wouldn't vote for me anyway."

    Politics, Neal said, has always been in his blood. He grew up in a Democratic family and once considered running for Congress from New York.

    "My intention was to make a lot of money and run for political office," Neal said.

    $1 million fundraiser

    During the last presidential election, Neal became a voluntary, full-time fundraiser, raising an estimated $1 million for the Democratic presidential campaign of Gen. Wesley Clark.

    "I was what would be called a bundler," said Neal.

    When Clark dropped out of the race, Neal raised about $500,000 for the Kerry-Edwards campaign. Neal also held a New York fundraiser for North Carolina Senate candidate Erskine Bowles.

    "I consider him a very decent man and one who is in politics for the right reasons," said Bob Farmer, who was national treasurer for the Kerry-Edwards campaign.

    While Neal was a successful national fundraiser for presidential candidates, campaign records show that he had raised less than $100,000 for his own campaign by the end of last year.

    In 2006, Neal moved back to Chapel Hill, along with his younger son. He said he did not move back to North Carolina to run for political office.

    "I wanted to come home," Neal said. "I wanted to be near my family. I wanted a different lifestyle."

    Can't afford a house

    Neal lives in a rented house in Chapel Hill and owns no property in North Carolina. Dole was criticized by Democrats during the 2002 campaign for not having a permanent home in North Carolina and using the address of her mother's house in Salisbury.

    "I can't afford it," Neal said. "I would love to be able to own a home. I was looking at buying a home until the campaign."

    Neal had put $120,000 of his own money into the Senate campaign as of December.

    He entered the Senate race in October after it appeared that no prominent Democrat would challenge Dole. When Hagan entered the race with the backing of much of the party establishment, Neal decided to stay in.

    "I'm running for the little man," Neal said. "My campaign is about bringing those voices to the table."

  •  and what's even more unbelievable (13+ / 0-)

    Kay Hagan's campaign, despite repeated polite public attempts  by myself, LGBT media here in NC and members of BlueNC to get her on the record on LGBT legislation, has refused to answer specific questions.

    From my earlier post on this at my blog:

    Even when I saw Hagan's communications coordinator Colleen Flanagan in person at the BlueNC blogger gathering yesterday (many pro-LGBT candidates were there, including Jim Neal), she didn't say when or if Hagan would issue any positions on:

    1. Federal hate crimes legislation.
    1. Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
    1. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal
    1. The Uniting American Families Act (H.R. 2221, S. 1328)
    1. The federal Defense of Marriage Act
    1. Whether her view that the definition of marriage should be left up to state law can be reconciled with 1967's Loving v. Virginia, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that invalidated state bans on interracial marriages and whether that should have been left a state matter.

    This is basic stuff. Sen. Hagan has in fact sponsored anti-discrimination measures at the state level, but for whatever reason, she can't manage the gumption to state her positions on the above for publication. A simple "Yes" or "No" would have been clear. Follow up questions to the campaign were not only not answered, but not acknowledged in any way, as I said above.

    If HRC is looking at who would be the best candidate on our issues, we already have a non-responsive fossil sitting in that seat right now -- Elizabeth Dole. No matter what you think of Jim Neal, he has been both responsive and clear on our issues, and Kay Hagan has been MIA.

  •  If he wins, watch the egg fly (7+ / 0-)

    If Neal pulls off a win here, look for the HRC to be smearing yolk off their collective faces.

  •  I'm voting for Jim Neal tomorrow. (8+ / 0-)

    ...along with Barack Obama for President, Teresa Sue Bratton for Congress,Dennis Nielsen for governor, Dan Besse for Lieutenant Governor, and Fred Aikens for auditor.

    •  Go Jim Neal and Barack Obama (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chun Yang, Mz Kleen, lostyank

      I am also an Obama supporter.  Jim Neal and Obama share many of the same positions, and Jim refuses to take PAC special interest money (something his opponent Kay Hagan says is unrealistic).  Plus, Jim endorses Obama.

      If Obama is your presidential pick, Jim Neal is a natural compliment for the US Senate.

  •  You'd think Neal would be a perfect HRC candidate (9+ / 0-)

    He's done tons of behind the scenes work for the NC Democratic party for years. He's got a good business record and has put together a solid platform. The NC Democrats went to Hagan begging her to run when Neal announced his candidacy because they weren't willing to support a gay man running to be the Democratic candidate for the US senate. Evidently they think Neal's good enough to raise thousands of dollars for the party, but Gaia forbid he come out of the shadows to run as part of the party's pubic face. The HRC should be holding Neal up as an organizational poster-child.

  •  The more important point (9+ / 0-)

    Jim completely changes the perceptions of NC voters when he meets them - I was there once when he did it. He's a great candidate for the LGBT community because more ornery people in North Carolina honestly begin to think that gay people deserve as much dignity as everyone else after they meet him. His campaign is doing more for North Carolina than the Beltway idiots realize.

    SPQA: Senatus Populusque Americanus

    by DemStafferDude on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:05:10 PM PDT

  •  My experience with HRC... (5+ / 0-)

    is that their estimate of "electability" trumps all other considerations to the point of playing Auntie Tom.

    Healthcare NOT Warfare! (Petition)

    by jgilhousen on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:21:35 PM PDT

    •  Jim Neal MORE likely to be elected (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chun Yang, craigkg, lostyank

      He's an AMAZING speaker, and has convinced many Republicans in North Carolina to support him.  I've seen him speak several times.  I think he has a better chance to get elected than Kay Hagan.  He's got a fiery-ness to him that is very convincing.

      •  I didn't say HRC's electability estimates... (0+ / 0-)

        were right, just seemingly paramount among their considerations.  And to some extent, I was just blowing off old steam.

        My only close contact with HRC was over a decade ago, when they sent in organizers to "help" push back an anti-gay ballot measure, but whose "play it safe" strategy nearly lost us that election.  They seemed much more interested at that time in building their own power base than actually winning the battle at hand.

        I withdrew my membership at that time.  What I've seen from a distance since then has led me to believe they haven't changed much, if at all.

        I find their annual legislative scorecard a useful tool... their leadership, well, not so much.

        Healthcare NOT Warfare! (Petition)

        by jgilhousen on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 08:56:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Why does the HRC have to endorse the gay guy? (3+ / 0-)

    Just because he's gay doesn't make him entitled to HRC support. Your points about his issue stances carry far more weight, IMO.

  •  Expedia.com (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chun Yang, lostyank, spnj889

    I for one already booked my plane ticket to help for the last 5 days...that was long ago after another travesty...but I encourage everyone to join me...get down to North Carolina...they need your help!

  •  Great clip of Kay on a Woman's right to choose (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    spnj889

    and whether or not judges should have to pass a litmus test for the supreme court.

    She is pathetic!

    http://youtube.com/...

  •  The really boring explanation (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    decafdyke, HeyMikey, spnj889

    Look at the list of people they endorsed. They are ALL incumbents or people with essentially uncontested primaries, like Jeanne Shaheen and the Udall boys.

    The HRC did not endorse ANYONE in a contested primary. They're extremely cautious and don't want to back any losers, because all they'd do is piss off the eventual winner. Maybe people disagree with this strategy, but you can't say their treatment of Neal is exceptional.

    This extreme conservatism showed up in 2006 when they highlighted their endorsement of... Bob Casey. The guy who won by nearly 20 points and led Santorum the whole season.

    HRC is a lagging indicator of success.

    The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund is who to send money to if you want to support candidates based on their gay or lesbian identity.

    •  Victory Fund Refuses to Support Jim Neal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brittain33

      Just take a look...

      Notice whose name is missing on the right.

      http://www.victoryfund.org/...

      Apaarently, there is some backroom stuff going.

      •  Hrm (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        spnj889

        Now that is a remarkable omission. Do we know if he asked them for an endorsement?

      •  The Victory Fund (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        brittain33, spnj889

        endorses qualified, committed openly LGBT candidates who can WIN at the ballot box.

        methinks the last clause may be still underway for mr. neal.

        www.beyondmarriage.org

        by decafdyke on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:58:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Of course... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        spnj889

        Because now, they need to make sure Jim doesnt make it, because then, he wont need them anymore...how embarrassing would that be?  

      •  the problem with HRC and the Victory Fund (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        decafdyke, Chun Yang, spnj889

        is that they are sadly part of the Beltway establishment, more concerned with gambling only on those with the best chances of winning - and thus continuing their levels of access to power, rather than  truly cultivating LGBT candidates that go against the grain or not play by their rules.

        It's an abject lesson that you have to play their games to obtain an endorsement rather than being measured by your message and grassroots support.

        It's a vicious cycle -- particularly in a Red/Purple state you need the support of the gay orgs to fundraise, yet you need to prove to them that you can win - this is absurd. Well of course it's hard to win if you shut off avenues for fundraising by benign neglect or actively working against a candidate. Either way, it's the same result.

        If a 100% on the issues gay candidate in NC isn't worth an endorsement, then Tar Heels should withhold giving to HRC if they aren't ready to back the candidate ready to work for advocacy of our issues, win or lose.

        It's the problem of HRC in particular trying to be both an advocacy organization and a lobbying arm.

    •  The point is not about HRC totally... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      spnj889

      Its that Emily's List should know they are supporting a (at best) weak on choice candidate.  They shouldnt care about HRC, but they should care about Federal Judges!

      Just more insiders playing insider games!

  •  New Dailykos Diary on Jim Neal (0+ / 0-)

    Please read and comment...

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

  •  Jim Neal and Kay Hagan on Gay Rights... (0+ / 0-)

    From the debate on April 29, 2008...

    http://www.youtube.com/...

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