In his ill-advised visit to UNC-Chapel Hill law school to defend the state legislature’s approval of a May referendum on a gay marriage prohibition amendment for the state constitution, House Majority Leader Skip Stam let an interesting little nugget slip out that is surely going to have ol’ Adam and Steve miffed at Madame Governor. Thank goodness WRAL’s Laura Leslie was there to pick it up for us:
“Why it’s in May instead of November is at the insistence of Governor Bev Perdue, who told a dozen Democrats they could vote for it if it was in May, but not November,” Stam said in response to an audience question.
Wow. It’s a little tough for the Dems to scream “bigotry” at referendum supporters when their boss lady OKed the idea of a May vote. Madame Governor must have choked on her double mocha decaf cappuccino when she heard that piece of info go public. Bev apparently tossed her spokesperson in front of Leslie, to do a little damage control:
When asked whether the governor had been involved in the date change, Perdue’s press secretary Chris Mackey sent the following statement:
“…The Governor didn’t want the General Assembly to waste its time considering this unnecessary amendment at all. Moving the amendment to the May ballot removed ONE of the Governor’s objections, which was that the Republicans were using the constitutional amendment process to tilt the 2012 general election. The Governor never encouraged legislators to put the amendment on ANY ballot.”
Perdue’s involvement in the date change had been widely rumored. Moving the amendment from November to May works out well for Democrats, who won’t have to worry about high turnout among “values voters” in the general election.
Much to the chagrin of amendment opponents, it’s also likely to help the amendment pass. Stam said today more Democrats vote in primaries than Republicans. That’s usually true of the general election, too, simply by virtue of the fact North Carolina has a whole lot more registered Democratic voters than Republicans.
However, this May, Republican voters will choose their presidential and gubernatorial candidates, so their turnout is likely to be pretty robust. Democrats, however, probably won’t have any high-profile primary races to draw them to the polls.