Virginia Republican House Representative Randy Forbes is trying to pressure the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) not to fund gay Republican congressional candidates. Politico reports that Forbes is waging a long and vigorous effort to persuade the NRCC not to lend financial support to a couple of gay candidates in competitive House races. The GOP has two promising candidates in winnable house districts that are gay. Republican Carl DeMaio, a former San Diego city councilman, is hoping to unseat Democrat Scott Peters in California’s 52nd District. Peters defeated Republican Brain Bilbray in 2012, by a narrow 51-49 margin. In Massachusetts, Republican Richard Tisei is hoping to win a rematch against Democratic Congressman John Tierney, who defeated Tisei by a razor thin 48-47 edge in 2012. Both DeMaio and Tisei are gay.
Despite the fact that the two candidates represent some of the best prospects for the GOP to pick up Democratic held house seats in 2014, Forbes would prefer the GOP withhold funding because the candidates are gay. Clearly, the Republican Party’s attempt to re-brand itself to appeal to a wider slice of the American electorate has hit another roadblock. That roadblock is the bigotry within the party’s ranks. Randy Forbes cannot stomach gay Republicans running for office because it bothers him that they are gay.
Mr. Forbes is a man of principle after all, and although that principle is his strict adherence to homophobic bigotry, it is a principle that he holds near and dear. He would sooner lose a seat to a Democrat than be forced to sit next to a gay man on the Republican side of the aisle in the US House of Representatives. If the NRCC is smart they will fund the campaigns of DeMaio and Tisei, and move the party closer to inclusiveness. If the NRCC is even smarter they will also cut off funding for Forbes and other bigots within their ranks, so that American voters might see them as a party moving into the 21st century rather than a party stuck in the past century.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.