Cooper rallies North Carolina Democrats at state convention

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina Democratic candidate for governor was rallying the party Saturday with promises to fuel public schools and reject the state’s controversial LGBT law as he gears up to challenge incumbent Republican Gov. Pat McCrory this fall.

Attorney General Roy Cooper spoke to about 600 Democratic activists at the party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner after the party’s convention calling for Democrats to take back the GOP-dominated state.

“We cannot afford to lose this race,” Cooper said. “North Carolina is at a crossroads. We are going to make choices. Are we going to be the North Carolina that we know we are or are we going to fall in to the trap of just helping those at the top, starving public education and marking it harder for people to vote? I don’t think so.”

Cooper compared McCrory’s rhetoric to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and said he fears the governor’s continued support of the state’s law limiting antidiscrimination protections for LGBT people will cost jobs and business from major companies.

“This is no longer a blue issue or a red issue. This is a green issue,” Cooper said. “We’re losing hundreds of millions of dollars, and thousands of jobs, and putting an unnecessary obstacle in front of us in our quest for better jobs for every day North Carolinians. But what is happening is this divisive social agenda continues to rule and we’ve got to stop it.”

EMILY’S List President Stephanie Schriock also spoke about championing Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Deborah Ross in her race to unseat Republican Sen. Richard Burr.

Earlier in the day, about 1,200 people attended the convention, said party spokesman Dave Miranda. Democrats elected 46 delegates and their alternates to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia next month. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won North Carolina’s March 15 primary over Bernie Sanders and is allocated 26 of those delegates.

House Democratic leader Rep. Larry Hall said he is “all on board” with Cooper’s campaign.

“If we work as hard as we’re cheering and speechifying today, we’ll do great in November,” Hall said. “You’ve got to follow through. You’ve got to give the speech and then you have to follow through. We’re going to get excited and see if we can to carry it to the streets from here.”

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