Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy told North Carolina Democrats on Thursday that Gov. Pat McCrory has “become a different guy than the person he pretended to be when he ran for governor.”
Malloy called on his party to rally behind McCrory’s opponent, Attorney General Roy Cooper, to defeat the Republican and repeal the state’s LGBT law, House Bill 2. He spoke to delegates at the Democratic National Convention at the state delegation’s hotel outside of Philadelphia. Malloy is serving as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.
“I’m ready for Roy,” he said, pointing to a screen bearing the campaign slogan. “You are going to be front and center in the coming months. It’s a swing state and we’ve got to win it. We’re going to do everything in our power to win it.”
Cooper wasn’t present for Malloy’s speech because he’s not attending the convention this week, opting to campaign in North Carolina instead. Malloy said McCrory has harmed the state’s reputation because of his support for HB2.
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“After only four years of Pat McCrory – a guy who I have known for 21 years – people think of it differently,” he said. “If your state doesn’t embrace people, people don’t necessarily embrace your state.”
Malloy noted that McCrory positioned himself as a moderate in the 2012 election but “would have pretended to be a choirboy if it would help him get elected.”
“Enough people thought he was somebody else that they were willing to turn over their great state,” Malloy said. “And how did he return the favor? HB2.”
He said he doesn’t believe McCrory’s rationale for HB2 – that the law protects bathroom privacy and gives businesses the right to enact their own bathroom policies.
“Your governor is telling fibs, and you know it and I know it,” he said. “This is about discrimination. This is something that we’ve got to stand up and push back on.”
Connecticut is one of several states and cities that have banned government-funded travel to North Carolina because of HB2. “I have a lot of gay, lesbian and transgender individuals that work for me, that work for the state of Connecticut,” he said, explaining the travel ban.
Malloy’s speech at 8 a.m. drew a small crowd as many delegates were sleeping in after President Barack Obama’s speech to the convention late Wednesday night. The low turnout prompted a comment from Jon Thompson, a spokesman for the Republican Governors Association.
“Maybe his 24 percent approval as America’s most unpopular gov doesn’t help?” Thompson tweeted. “Or the fact that he is under fed investigation.”
Investigators are looking into allegations that Malloy illegally solicited campaign donations from state contractors in 2014.
McCrory’s campaign spokesman sent out a statement in response. “The fact that failed Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy is endorsing Roy Cooper is all anyone needs to know,” spokesman Ricky Diaz wrote. “Under Governor Malloy’s failed policies, Connecticut is facing a $960 million budget shortfall crisis while North Carolina has a $450 million budget surplus and one of the fastest growing economies under Governor McCrory’s leadership.”