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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Meet Charlotte's next Pat McCrory: gladhanding mayoral candidate gets training wheels on his "GIF keyboard" and promises adult supervision after flinging poo at gay voters

From WFAE radio today:
Joel Ford drew controversy on Twitter late Tuesday night when he responded to users with animated GIF images, including the image of a defecating dog. Ford is a Democratic state senator who is also running for Charlotte mayor. Now, his campaign manager says Ford will be restricted in the GIFs he can use in the future. 
The defecating dog tweet was sent at 11:13 p.m. Tuesday in response to a series of criticisms from Twitter users @TheMattComer and @WhalerCane. Both users were criticizing Ford's record on LGBT issues. Matt Comer is a self-described LGBT activist and the former editor of QNotes, an LGBT-oriented newspaper. 
"Is this serious?" Comer replied. "A state senator who seeks to be my mayor responds to a legitimate criticism via Twitter w/ a GIF/meme of a defecating dog." 
Ford's campaign manager, Dakota Cary, confirmed Wednesday the tweets were sent by Ford. Cary said Ford selected the GIF of the defecating dog from the "awkward" section of his "GIF keyboard." 
"He used that one," Cary explained, "because he thinks that when people like that come for him on Twitter... it's easier than sitting down and typing out the same response each time." 
Asked whether Ford regretted the move and would want a do-over, Cary said yes. "None of the GIFs that we've been using have been well received, and so I think there's a disconnect between trying to use GIFs as a way to communicate with people and what they actually mean," adding, "You end up with a problem like this where what he wants to convey and what comes across (are) two different things." 
Cary said the campaign will consider creating a list of pre-approved GIFs for the candidate to use when responding to people on Twitter. 
The tweets in question remain posted as of Wednesday morning.
Update: 11:33 a.m. Wednesday, March 15 -- Ford's tweet depicting the defecating dog has been taken down. 
Correction: 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 15 -- An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Ford sent out the tweets late Wednesday night. The tweets were sent out late Tuesday night. The story has been corrected.
Joel Ford is my state senator. He is not homophobic.

Joel Ford doesn't care enough about LGBT issues to be homophobic. Try to find his views on anything LGBT-related on his Facebook page. All you find on his mayoral campaign site is two press releases criticizing his incumbent opponent's handling of HB2 with not a glimmer of an idea of what he'd have done better. In fact, he was at ground zero in Raleigh and was pretty much silent.

Ford is a run-of-the-mill backbench Democrat the General Assembly's Republicans gifted with a gerrymandered life seat in the state senate. With a very large percentage of Mecklenburg County's black voters stacked in District 38, the living was easy and the health and retirement plan was good.

No point trying to legislate; the Republicans won't bring anything to a vote they don't originate. No hurry with constituent responsiveness: who're they gonna vote for next year, anyway?

The majority of Ford's constituents are church-goers who traditionally range, in their view of gay folk, from sitting on their hands to hostility. Since he wins his re-elections with numbers crowding 90%, there's no need to break a sweat on a loser issue for a minority in his district.

Which would be fine if Ford didn't have ambitions. In Raleigh, he's a party line guy, and the Democrats, hapless as they are in their superminority, aren't driven by spite and Phil Berger's acid reflux when they vote.

But last year a federal court voided Ford's district as racially gerrymandered and the Raleigh Republicans gave him a new and more competitive one.

So he's running for mayor of Charlotte. He's trying to unseat the incumbent Democrat, Jennifer Roberts. She has had a hard first term but she has never wavered in her support of LGBT Charlotteans.

Ford says he can do better than Roberts, but is silent on LGBT issues, and supports Son of HB2, the bill to let cities adopt nondiscrimination laws one big church's congregation can get enough signatures to trigger a referendum to overturn.

Ford wants to run because he has a mighty bulwark of voters in Northwest Charlotte and figures he can peel off enough white voters in the wealthy, southern suburbs with nostrums about what is good for Bank of America is good for Charlotte.

Senator Ford says- or, rather, his campaign manager says Senator Ford says- he's sorry he responded to gay journalist Matt Comer's critique of his LGBT record with a GIF of a puppy taking a dump.

The mouthpiece says Ford likes GIFs because they save him having to type the same thing over and over "when people come after him."

I know how Ford feels.

Last year I wrote him a detailed constituent letter explaining why I felt an early attempt to amend HB2 was not the right road. He took his own good time responding, and when he did, he wrote, "Thanks for your letter. I guess you've seen in the news what happened."

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