RALEIGH, N.C. — LGBT North Carolinians reacted swiftly Wednesday to a statement from U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers’ campaign team, which used coded anti-LGBT language to attack Clay Aiken, who earlier announced his candidacy for U.S. Congress.
In a statement, Ellmers spokesperson Jessica Wood used traditional code words and phrases to attack Aiken, contrasting Aiken’s supposed “San Francisco” values with Ellmers’ support of families, reported QNotes.
Wood called Aiken a “performer whose political views more closely resemble those of San Francisco,” and said it was Ellmers who would be “fighting for their families.”
The statement garnered swift criticism from Dan Gurley, a former executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party.
Gurley, who like Aiken is openly gay, criticized Wood’s statement and its tone.
“I’m sure you thought you were being clever with your statement yesterday when you said the following, ‘and Aiken, a performer whose political views more closely resemble those of San Francisco than Sanford,’” Gurley wrote.
Article continues below“Well, you weren’t. You were offensive and childish, and if you worked for me or any client of mine I’d fire you. Surely you know better than this. You have offended many on both sides of the political aisle with your ill thought out comments. Not only are you uncreative, but your [sic] small minded,” he said.
Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality North Carolina, a statewide LGBT advocacy and education group, said Ellmers’ spokesperson was “out of touch” with North Carolina.
“There’s no room in today’s North Carolina for this failed, coded language trying to draw attention to Aiken’s sexual orientation,” Sgro told qnotes. “The values represented by those communities are fairness and equality, and they are going to be interested to hear what Aiken has to say in this race.”