Jodie Brunstetter’s comments that the “Caucasian” race would benefit from North Carolina’s Amendment 1 initiative — a constitutional measure prohibiting same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships — came in an attempt to persuade another white woman to support the effort, but instead convinced two African American voters to oppose it, ThinkProgress has learned.
Brunstetter is the wife of North Carolina Sen. Peter Brunstetter (R), who voted in favor of the measure.
“She said the white race is diminishing and I asked her why that alarmed her and that’s when she said, you know, that white people had founded this country. She of course made no mention of the fact that there were people already here,” Kate Maloy, the woman to whom Brunstetter made the remarks, said in a phone interview this morning.
Maloy claims she came to the polls to urge voters to oppose the measure, but soon found herself in a 30 minute conversation with the senator’s wife, who was passing out flyers in favor of the amendment. “It just became clear to me that she couldn’t hear anything I said. She wasn’t willing to consider one word out of my mouth,” Maloy said. Brunstetter mentioned race half way through the discussion. “She said the white race is diminishing and I asked her why that alarmed her and that’s when she said, you know, that ‘white people had founded this country.'”
Brunstetter made her argument within earshot of an African American poll worker. “He was standing there with his back to us. Now, I was kind of watching him out of the corner of my eye because, you know when she started talking about the Caucasian race diminishing, I saw his whole body, he threw his head back and his mouth came open and he could not believe what he was hearing,” Maloy said and noted — with some degree of satisfaction — that Brunstetter’s remarks convinced two African American women to oppose the measure:
MALOY: I had been having a real intense conversation with these two women, both of whom were black, and both of whom were voting for the amendment and both of whom really changed their mind. And not only that, but they were going to go talk to a whole lot of people. Once they heard how many people would be harmed by this and what the spirit of the amendment is.
“I was kind of giving her an opportunity to say what she really believed. I wasn’t pushing anything,” Maloy added. “The fact that she did say this to me — maybe she thought all white people believed this.”
Early voting has already begun in the state and will continue until May 8. Brunstetter admits to using the word “Caucasian,” but denies that she was talking about race. The NAACP of North Carolina has issued a statement condemning her remarks.