2 Gay GOP Candidates Lost While Gay Dems Made History
An openly gay Republican, who was vying to become San Diego's next mayor, lost on Tuesday against his Democratic rival. Meanwhile, across the country in Massachusetts, another out GOP candidate announced defeat after voters re-elected a Democrat surrounded by scandals to represent the state's Sixth Congressional District.
NBC San Diego reports Bob Filner beat City Councilman Carl DeManio.
Filner thanked the gay conservative for his respectful concession speech that he delivered early Wednesday morning. "It's time for all sides to come together and put the best interest of San Diego first," DeMaio said.
The NBC affiliate noted in its report that DeMaio was ahead in the polls until midnight, when he dropped 1 percent. About 40 minutes later, Filner, 70, edged his way into the lead by earning just over 2,000 votes. When all the votes had been tallied, it was 51-49 Filner-DeMaio.
DeMai, 38, fits into the GOP's concept of fiscal-conservativism. He reportedly used millions of his own dollars to fund his campaign. He even sold two of his successful companies in hopes of beating Filner. DeMaio stood a decent chance,as San Diego has a history of electing moderate Republican mayors.
As the Associated Press reported, if DeMaio had been elected, he would have been the first openly gay Republican mayor of a major city.
On Tuesday night, while results were still up in the air, DeMaio thanked his partner, John Hale, while speaking to supporters. "You know we've been out and proud this whole time, and that hasn't really mattered," DeMaio said. "And that's what I love about San Diego. When you strip away all the labels too often used in politics, one label remains, one is strong: We are all San Diegans."
The move to have at least one out-gay Republican in a prominent office suffered another setback across the continent.
In Massachusetts, openly gay Republican Richard Tisei lost against Democratic U.S. Rep. John Tierney in the Sixth Congressional District. AP reported that Tierney, who has been plagued by scandal, won 48 percent of the vote to Tisei's 47 percent.
Tierney "struggled to contain the fallout from a federal criminal case involving his wife and her family. His wife agreed in October 2010 to plead guilty to federal charges she helped her brothers conceal an illegal offshore gambling operation," AP wrote. "She was sentenced to 30 days behind bars."
Nevertheless, that didn't stop him from beating out Tisei, who would have been the first Republican to win a U.S. House race in Massachusetts since 1994.
Tisei has had an interesting career in politics ever since he ran for the open 22nd Middlesex district seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1984. When he won against Democrat Donald Flanagan, he became the youngest Republican ever elected to the Massachusetts House. In 2010, when he was the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, he publicly came out as gay.
Tisei, it seemed, couldn't catch a break from the chattering classes.
Pundits on the far right sharply criticized Ties for his pro marriage-equality stand and reproductive rights, Democrats in the state, most notably out-gay retiring Mass. Rep. Barney Frank, lambasted him for running as a Republican at all.
''The fact that Richard Tisei is openly gay is a good thing,'' Frank said. ''The problem is that it is of no use to us.''
If the Republican Party failed to elect openly gay politicians, Democrats made history for electing Democrat Tammy Baldwin as Wisconsin's junior U.S. senator. Baldwin thus becomes the nation's first openly gay person to serve in the Senate. "I didn't run to make history, I ran to make a difference," Baldwin said in her acceptance speech, as she then listed students, seniors veterans, entrepreneurs and working people.
Additionally, Gay Politics reports Sean Patrick Maloney became the first out-member of Congress from New York State on Tuesday when he defeated Republican Rep. Nan Hayworth. Maloney has been with his partner for 20 years and has three children.