Here’s the list of North Carolina elected officials, announced by the Clinton campaign yesterday. The list includes openly gay officials Mike Nelson and Sen. Julia Boseman (see her Q-Notes “Carolina leaders speak” profile today)

Vic Euliss, Councilmember, Graham (Alamance County)
Jerry Tolley, Mayor, Elon (Alamance County)
Gary Barber, Vice-Chair, Ashe County Commissioner (Ashe County)
Joan Brown, Alderwoman, Town of Black Mountain (Buncombe County)
Otto De Bruhl, Register of Deeds (Buncombe County)
Bob Christy Jr. Clerk of Superior Court (Buncombe County)
Jan Davis, Vice-Mayor, Asheville (Buncombe County)
Susan C. Fisher, State Representative (Buncombe County)
Rosalie Phillips, Alderwoman, Black Mountain (Buncombe County)
Wade Nelms, County Commissioner (Cartert County)
Charlene Dowdy, Register of Deeds (Currituck County)
Gene Gregory, Vice-Chair, Currituck County Commissioner (Currituck County)
Steve Dolley, Former State Representative (Gaston County)
Sharon Harrell, Register of Deeds (Gates County)
Kay Cashion, Vice Chair, Guilford County Commissioner (Guilford County)
Jim Morgan, Former State Representative (Guilford County)
Jon Baker, City Council, Roanoke Rapids (Halifax County)
D.N. Beale, Mayor, Roanoke Rapids (Halifax County)
Ernest Bobbitt, City Council, Roanoke Rapids (Halifax County)
Ed Deese, City Council, Roanoke Rapids (Halifax County)
Jeff Fraizer, Sheriff (Halifax County)
Ed Liverman, City Council, Roanoke Rapids (Halifax County)
Robert Morgan, Former US Senator (Harnett County)
Councilmember, Hendersonville (Henderson County)
Brenda Bell, Register of Deeds, Statesville (Iredell County)
C.O. Johnson, City Council, Statesville (Iredell County)
Thurza McNair Jackson City School Board Member (Jackson County)
Donald Rains, Mayor, Princeton (Johnston County)
Allen Wellons, Former State Senator (Johnston County)
Robert Swinson, City Council, Kinston (Lenoir County)
Susan Rector, Register of Deeds (Madison County)
Susan Burgess, Mayor Pro Tem, Charlotte (Mecklenburg County)
Daniel G. Clodfelter, State Senator (Mecklenburg County)
Parks Helms, Mecklenburg County Commissioner (Mecklenburg County)
Jennifer Roberts, Chair, Mecklenburg County Commission (Mecklenburg County)
Frank Block, Former State Senator (New Hanover County)
Julia Boseman, State Senator (New Hanover County)
Mike Nelson, County Commissioner (Orange County)
Charles Ward, County Commissioner (Perquimans County)
Eugene James, Pitt County Commissioner (Pitt County)
Tom Taft, Former State Senator (Pitt County)
Stephen Tripp, Mayor, Ayden (Pitt County)
Beth Ward, County Commissioner (Pitt County)
Gerald Whitley, Mayor, Grimesland (Pitt County)
Tommy Melton, Chairman, Polk County Commissioner (Polk County)
Russell Walker, Former State Senator (Randolph County)
Roger Oxendine, County Commissioner (Robeson County)
Ronnie Sutton, State Representative (Robeson County)
John Bell, Wayne County Commissioner (Wayne County)
Lindy Brown, Wake County Commissioner (Wake County)
Roland M. “Bud” Gray, Chairman, Wayne County Commissioner (Wayne County)
Ray McDonald, Sr., Mayor, Mt. Olive (Wayne County)
Atlas Price, Vice Chair, County Commissioner (Wayne County)
Tom Rabon, Former State Representative (Wake County)
Betty Lou Ward, County Commissioner (Wake County)
Max Melton, Former State Representative (Union County)
Aaron Plyler, Former State Senator (Union County)
Tommy Garner, Vice-Chair, Yadkin County Commissioner (Yadkin County)
Hubert Gregory, Mayor, Yadkinville (Yadkin County)
Willaree Jobe, Register of Deeds (Yancey County)

NEWTON, N.C./ — Just slightly over three weeks until North Carolina’s highly anticipated May 6 primary, openly gay U.S. Senate candidate and Chapel Hill businessman Jim Neal won a Western North Carolina straw poll on Saturday, Apr. 12, in the 10th District town of Newton.

U.S. Senate Candidate Jim Neal (right) won a Western N.C. straw poll against his better-funded rival, N.C. State Sen. Kay Hagan (D-Guilford).

Neal, who has been running neck-and-neck with N.C. State Sen. Kay Hagan (D-Guilford), won the poll 54% to 46%.

“Today’s results show the power of the grassroots. The people in the 10th Congressional District spoke, and their voice is louder than insider money and TV ads. Despite being outspent two to one, our message is getting through. North Carolinians are supporting our movement for a government that works for all the people,” Neal said in an Apr. 13 press release.

The event started at 11 a.m. at the Newton-Conover Civic and Performance Place. Both Neal and Hagan spoke to the crowd.

After the final tally, Neal earned 127 votes to Hagan’s 108.

“Strength for a Democratic candidate in this type of more rural setting is certainly a great indicator of which candidates will fare best in the general election,” District Chairman Tony McEwen said. “For a Democrat to be successful statewide in North Carolina, they not only will have to get support from urban areas but also be able to pick up more conservative voters in rural counties, like you will find in the 10th district.”

Neal has made it a campaign focal point to visit as many communities across the state as possible. His grassroots campaign has been reaching out to voters in far-flung places. The effort, it seems, is paying off.

According to news reports and progressive bloggers, Hagan continues to sidestep questions on issues important to the LGBT community. Her latest LGBT gaffe occurred during a live blog when she failed to directly answer questions from nationally respected, Durham, N.C.-based blogger Pam Spaulding. Attempts for clarification and follow-up by Spaulding and other community members were ignored.

The latest official poll results continue to show Hagan and Neal in a dead heat.

Other straw poll results from the Newton event include:

  • Democratic Presidential Primary: Obama 138, Clinton 109
  • N.C. Democratic Gubernatorial Primary: Perdue 129, Moore 115

Let’s just shove her aside

by Micah Beasley . Guest Commentary

hillary-micahI believe that the word “Democrat” stems from the word democracy and yet some of my party leaders seem bent on stifling democracy in the fourth quarter of this very intense political battle. Personally, I want my voice and vote heard in this quarter, as do many others. But, no, let’s just push Hillary over to the sidelines. The conveniently orchestrated addresses by the Obama surrogates thinly veiled the arrogance with some of the men in the Democratic Party. Sen. Dodd one day, Sen. Leahy the next — Obama speaks out “against” their calls following the weekend. The damage had already been done and the Obama campaign new that full well.

Photo: Micah Beasley, Cody Rigsby and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY).

However, instead of badgering the Obama campaign and Democratic party elders I want to make the case for my candidate without that negativity. I want to lay out facts and thoughtful analysis of why Hillary Clinton is actually the better candidate to defeat John McCain in the fall.

Continue reading this post…


Obama: Stand up for what is right

By now, the LGBT blogosphere and activist world has thoroughly debated the appearance of ex-gay Donnie McClurkin at Senator Barack Obama’s “Embrace the Change” gospel concert in Columbia, S.C. (just one example here).

They have brought to light his past statements against LGBT people’s integrity, dignity and worth. They have fully explored the circumstances leading up to McClurkin’s appearance and what actually took place during the concert. There is no need for me to repeat it all.

But, I do have concerns. In fact, my concerns are more than “concerns.”

I was able to speak to the Senator’s Columbia press spokesman before the concert took place. I was told, “McClurkin is there to sing and offer praise, not to talk about politics.”

Knowing now that McClurkin did much more than just sing and offer praise, I am upset. I am angry.

I am disappointed that a person I once immensely respected has now helped to give credibility to a message and an ideological viewpoint that should never be given credibility.

Below is my letter to the Obama campaign. I slept on what I thought I wanted to say last night, hoping that I could come to other feelings, but my thoughts haven’t changed. I also debated whether I would post this letter at all, or only excerpts, or in its entirety. I decided to just post the full letter. Obama isn’t the only one I want to hear my words:

Although it makes me feel somewhat more at ease knowing that Donnie McClurkin had been given a clear understanding of his role at the concert prior to the event, I still feel as though a huge mistake has been made.

You will notice that the email I sent out earlier (as well as this email) came from my personal email address, not my address at Q-Notes. I am writing this and speaking to you now in my personal voice and want to be totally honest and up-front: I am deeply upset that Mr. McClurkin was allowed to address political issues when he was invited only to sing. I am deeply upset that Senator Obama has offered credibility to McClurkin’s message.

I had come to the conclusion that since the LGBT community always asks for tolerance, I should offer the same to Mr. McClurkin. I could let him sing and not be upset about that. After all, he’s just singing and nothing more, right? I’m a Christian who can appreciate the songs and praises of another believer, right? That is what I told myself, at least.

While Mr. McClurkin’s views are certainly tame when compared to other ex-gay leaders’ and activists’ teachings, I am still hurt that he would abuse the platform he was given during the concert, a platform that was offered for him to sing and to offer praise only.

A part of me says that there was no way Mr. McClurkin could have been controlled once a microphone was in his hand. However, another part of me says that if he had indeed been told very plainly the parameters of what he could and couldn’t do on stage, then cutting his microphone should have been neither a difficult decision by those running the event, nor should it have come as a surprise to Mr. McClurkin.

I am a person who was deeply hurt (and continues to hurt daily) from being raised in a church and religious setting that taught gay and lesbian people should be put to death (“Put all the queers on a ship, pluck a hole into the side of it and send it out to sea,” my preacher would say).

I cannot support any person – whether that be a Presidential candidate or a city council candidate – who helps to give even the slightest hint of credibility to an idealogical viewpoint that is very closely linked to the real and ever-present spiritual violence I was exposed to as a youth. I was a gay adolescent attempting to come to terms with myself, my God, my church, family, community and society. People like Donnie McClurkin never made it easier.

I understand that the Senator wants to reach out to as many people as possible. I do understand that. I’m not totally inept when it comes to politics and I know (perhaps not as much as the Senator) how the game is played: Reach out to the most people without compromising one’s own values, get the most votes and win an election.

Unfortunately, Sen. Obama will have to make a decision. Does he sacrifice the votes of black evangelicals who will be turned off by his support of LGBT people and their right to exist (literally, their right to exist)? Does he try to play both angles reaching out to LGBT people and telling them they do have the right to exist while at the same time reaching out to a group who think that I should be invisible, “converted,” guilty of a crime or, at worst, put to death?

I know: it sounds extreme. But I’ve lived my entire life in the South and I’ve been “out of the closet” since I was 14. Putting gays to death? Think no one could believe that? Think again.

Allowing Donnie McClurkin to abuse the opportunity he’d been given measures up to offering the credibility Donne McClurkin and other anti-gay leaders need in order to continue ruining the lives of LGBT people.

Ask the Senator how he feels about any of the 13, 14 or 15 year old LGBT boys and girls at his concert who heard Donnie McClurkin say they are not worthy. McClurkin may not have used those words, but as a person who’s been in that situation myself, I’ll guarantee Sen. Obama that what those youth heard was a message of exclusion and hate.

Matt Comer

I am fully aware that some may take the following analogy as an offense. I apologize in advance. I believe, however, that the situation with Senator Obama and McClurkin is no different.

Imagine for a moment that we are all living in 1840. Imagine that a Presidential candidate has repeatedly said that he will support the abolitionist movement, that he believes abolition of slavery is 100% the right thing to do. Now, imagine the same Presidential candidate invites a religious leader from the other side of the debate to one of his events. Imagine that the candidate lends credibility to an ideological viewpoint from which he has not only already distanced himself publicly, but also a viewpoint that those in the abolitionist movement find repugnant.

The candidate says it is necessary for “dialogue.”

That wouldn’t have flown then, if it had happened. Or, at least, looking back we know that it shouldn’t have flown.

Although the current situation isn’t as extreme as slavery vs. abolition, it is, nonetheless, a situation of a candidate who has promised to support equality and the offering of integrity and dignity to every person, but who now lends credibility to a movement that preaches the exact opposite. That doesn’t fly. That hurts.

Unless something happens to amend this situation very quickly, I’m afraid Obama will have lost the support and respect I once held for him. Although it is true I always supported Edwards, I also supported Obama. An Obama-Edwards ticket would have been my dream ticket. Now, I’m not so sure.

Obama should fully, publicly condemn the words and actions of McClurkin. He should apologize for allowing his campaign to become, even if for a short time, a vehicle for hate and exclusion. I don’t want to see another written statement or another prepared thought coming from some hired political press spokesman. Obama should appear publicly and apologize himself. No script, no prepared language. I think I’m owed at least that much.

If Obama truly supports equality, then he shouldn’t be afraid to condemn those voices that call for the opposite of equality.

It really is simple. Here’s to hoping Obama gets the message.

In’s first post in its Q-vote 2008 initiative, I am glad to give some very exciting news for the LGBT community of North Carolina.

Mike Nelson, currently an Orange County Commissioner and former Mayor of Carrboro, has announced his intention to run for the North Carolina Senate in 2008, according to the Raleigh News & Observer.

Nelson, who is openly gay, is widely respected in the Triangle area as a popular, intelligent and experienced community leader and politician. Nelson currently works as a lobbyist for the Conservation Council of North Carolina at the General Assembly.

From the N&O:

Orange County Commissioner Mike Nelson has sent a letter to supporters indicating he plans to run for the state Senate seat now held by Ellie Kinnaird.

Kinnaird told Nelson last winter she would not be running for re-election, according to the letter.

“The state legislature is the battleground for many of the issues I care about: the environment, quality schools, equal treatment under the law for lesbians and gay men, and health care reform,” Nelson said in the letter. “Legislative seats don’t open up very often, I decided, and if I sincerely wish to impact those and other issues then there was no choice but to get in the race.”

Nelson will face opposition from Moses Carey, the current Chairman of the Orange County Board of Commissioners.

Mike Nelson was endorsed during my Q-vote 2006 initiative at, in his run for the Orange County Board of Commissioners. The endorsement read:

Nelson, an openly gay and community-minded individual, has served his community for years. Nelson, a Democrat, is a great choice to help lead Orange County.

I wish Mike the best of luck as he pursues his campaign. If elected to the NC Senate, Nelson would be only the second openly gay member of the North Carolina General Assembly. The first, and only, openly gay member elected and currently serving is Senator Julia Boseman of New Hanover County and Wilmington, NC.

Q-vote 2008 is an online initiative of and Matt Comer, in order to increase voter education and awareness of candidates and issues of importance to the LGBT community of North Carolina. The purpose of’s Q-vote is to raise the public’s awareness of LGBT issues while also promoting and raising the awareness of LGBT inclusive, positive and supportive candidates and politicians running for offices in the 2008 Election season. Learn more.

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