CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Today is Election Day for the East Charlotte, as candidates for City Council Darrell Bonapart and Matt Newton face off in the Democratic District 5 primary runoff race.
Reports are surfacing on social media that fliers supporting Bonapart and bearing a transphobic message are being handed out at polling places.
“Paid for by NC Values Coalition,” the fliers read at bottom.
The NC Values Coalition was a vocal opponent to the city’s expanded nondiscrimination ordinance, which offered protections to the LGBTQ community, including allowing transgender people to use bathrooms matching their gender identity.
The group supported the state’s discriminatory response, HB2, and has often framed the issue as one of a safety concern for women and children. The state’s eventual repeal bill, HB 142, keeps the discrimination in place at least until 2020.
“It’s time we have a prolife city councilman that takes a public stand against human trafficking, homelessness and crime,” the flier reads.
“Promote public safety & protect bathroom privacy by keeping men out of women’s bathrooms,” it adds.
Newton has received endorsements from MeckPAC, Equality NC, and the Human Rights Campaign.
Subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter:
We have reached out to Bonapart and the NC Values Coalition for comment and will update if more information becomes available.
UPDATE: Bonapart has responded to request for comment, distancing himself from the flier.
“I didn’t know about the flier,” said Bonapart.
“My campaign manager is transgender,” he added. “I didn’t make that statement.”
He was less committal when asked what his stance was on allowing transgender people to use bathrooms matching their gender identity, he was noncommittal.
“I have no issue,” he said. “I refer to my campaign manager, Jade, because she is very important to me. I am at a loss with this issue.”
Bonapart also said he understood he “may be getting support [from NC Values Coalition] due to my work in human trafficking and homelessness.”
UPDATE 2: MeckPAC has issued a statement encouraging people to vote for Newton, and calling attention to the fliers.
“MeckPAC learned late this afternoon that Matt Newton’s primary opponent, Darrell Bonapart, had apparently received the endorsement of the NC Values Coalition, the state’s leading anti-LGBTQ advocacy group and the organization responsible for helping to pass HB2,” the statement reads. “Bonapart acknowledged in a statement to some community members today, including MeckPAC members, local activists and local media, that he was aware he would be receiving NC Values Coalition’s support for his work on homelessness and human trafficking. Regardless of Bonapart’s intent, MeckPAC is concerned anytime a candidate decides to partner with or take support from an organization widely known to be hostile to the rights of LGBTQ people.”
You can read the full statement in the Facebook post below.