Gay Republicans Competing in Three Congressional Races

Monday, 19 May 2014 08:41 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Three openly gay men are running as Republicans in the 2014 midterm House elections even as social conservatives in the party push back on same sex marriage, The Washington Post reported.

In New Hampshire, Dan Innis, a former business professor, will need to overcome Frank Guinta in the GOP primary if he is to go on to challenge Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter. Guinta, a former congressman, has been emphasizing his commitment to the middle class and opposition to Obamacare. Innis has stressed the need to get spending under control, reduce the size of government and reforming the tax code.

A voter asked Innis if gay rights would be a central part of his agenda should he be elected. He said, "I am running on free-market issues. That's what I'm focused on. The social issue has been settled here in New Hampshire," according to the Post.

Innis is seldom queried about his sexual orientation on the campaign trail. County Republican chairman Alan Glassman told the Post, "Just like any other candidate who we host, our members want to know what Dan is going to do to improve the economy."

In California, Carl DeMaio, a former San Diego City Council member, aims to
defeat Democratic Rep. Scott Peters. DeMaio has criticized Peters for his close ties to labor unions and emphasized his own commitment to low taxes and bipartisan coalition building.

In Massachusetts, former state Sen. Richard Tisei will likely face Democratic Rep. John Tierney. Tisei has emphasized the economy and maintaining defense spending.

The state has been in the vanguard of legalizing same-sex marriage. But the issue is by no means settled in the GOP. Republican activists adopted a plank to their state party platform that defined marriage as between one man and one woman. Tisei boycotted the party's convention.

The national GOP platform also continues to define marriage as "a union between a man and a woman" and Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., has urged the National Republican Congressional Committee not to back openly gay candidates, according to the Post.

While there are eight gay Democrats in Congress, the last openly gay Republican was Arizona Rep. Jim Kolbe who left in 2007. Some 76 percent of gay voters view the GOP as "unfriendly." Polls, however, show Republicans under the age of 40 generally support same-sex marriage, with 60 percent in favor, the Post reported. House Speaker John Boehner has been supportive of gay Republicans.

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