North Carolina newspaper The Charlotte Observer has ended its endorsement of Governor Pat McCrory after 25 years.

The newspaper has supported the Governor throughout his political career since 1991, but on Friday tradition was broken as the paper opted to back Democrat Roy Cooper.

A key reason for the change in endorsement comes down to McCrory’s defence of the controversial bathroom bill. The legislation which bans transgender people from using public toilets and changing rooms that correspond with their gender identity.

“Voters have a superior option in Democrat Roy Cooper,” the staff wrote in an editorial letter.

“Cooper has the experience, the intelligence and the policy stances needed to return the state to its stature as a progressive leader in the South.”

“That stature has been lost under McCrory. While the state’s and nation’s attention has rightfully been focused on HB2 since spring, McCrory’s lack of leadership and wrong-headed policies have been on display since his first year in Raleigh.”

HB2 has been widely condemned and North Carolina has seen boycotts which have cost the state over $395 million.

Sports leagues, businesses, human rights groups and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have all condemned the legislation.

The Charlotte Observer wrote that it had cautioned McCrory to “stay away from lightning-rod social issues” after the 2014 mid-term elections.

“Governor, meet lightning rod.”

“McCrory rushed to sign House Bill 2 on March 23, hours after the House and Senate rammed it through. North Carolina’s reputation has been melting ever since.”

“McCrory adamantly defends the discriminatory measure and dismisses the NCAA, the ACC, scores of business executives and others who have condemned the legislation. It was a hateful and self-defeating bill, and it will be McCrory’s legacy.”

“Cooper opposes HB2 and says he would work to repeal it.”

The Charlotte Observer listed a number of other reasons for changing its endorsement, noting that “McCrory has signed enough bad legislation to fill a library” and has been “spineless” in standing up to “the most egregious ideas” of the legislature.

The newspaper notes McCrory has had a productive career as a public servant, “but he has climbed the ladder beyond his abilities. It is time for him to come home.”

The loss of endorsement comes after, Pat McCrory complained this week that he and his wife have lost lots of friends because of his anti-transgender law.