Gay Campaign Group Endorses 2 GOP Candidates — But Not the One with Best Chance of Winning

A group that supports gay and lesbian candidates for political office has endorsed two gay Republicans running for office.

But the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, which says it “endorses qualified, committed openly LGBT candidates who can WIN at the ballot box,” notably left out the gay GOP candidate who perhaps has the strongest chance of winning his race.


Carl DeMaio, a former member of the San Diego City Council challenging Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), featured his partner in a recent campaign ad. The ad, titled “A New Generation Republican,” included a few seconds of DeMaio and partner Jonathan Hale walking together in a parade.

The Victory Fund this week endorsed former University of New Hampshire dean Dan Innis, who is in a primary race with former Rep. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.) for the chance to face incumbent Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.), and former Massachusetts Senate minority leader Richard Tisei, who is in a tight race against Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) in a replay of their 2012 face-off.

“Both Dan Innis and Richard Tisei have demonstrated outstanding leadership and are viewed as visionary leaders that are voices for their constituencies. We are proud to announce their endorsements today,” said Torey Carter, chief operating officer at the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, in a statement. “These two candidates have the potential to become the first out LGBT Republicans in Congress.”

Carter said their elections “would shatter a glass ceiling for the Republican Party,” but the candidate not endorsed probably has the best shot at doing the shattering. And the Victory Fund is not talking about why it won’t support DeMaio.

The Rothenberg Political Report has called Peters “extremely vulnerable” and noted in its race analysis that “DeMaio may actually start the race with higher name I.D. than the incumbent.” He’s amassed a sizable war chest topping $1 million and has the backing of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). It’s also a top 5 race of the National Republican Congressional Committee.


So in response to the Victory Fund’s selective endorsement, DeMaio and Tisei announced Wednesday that they’d already begun their own victory fund.

Their Equity Leadership Fund vows to “send a strong message to the Republican Party and establishment LGBT groups alike,” and raised $254,625 in just two months at the end of 2013.

“This liberal group did not endorse Carl in 2012 and we’re not surprised they’re not endorsing him in what national observers call the most likely seat to switch parties in the country,” DeMaio spokesman Dave McCulloch told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “When it matters, this group is about a liberal agenda.”


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