CHICAGO - Not only are Illinois Republican candidates asking for campaign dollars in Chicago, so are congressional candidates from as far away as San Diego. One fundraiser for an out-of-stater will be held Wednesday afternoon in Chicago and will be hosted by Congressman Aaron Schock (IL-17) and 10th CD challenger Bob Dold - both Republicans.
The fundraiser is for San Diego Republican Carl DeMaio and the reception invite says:
If Carl wins in the November election, which is seen as a tossup seat, it will make him the first openly gay Republican in Congress. This race is expected to be one of the most expensive House races to date - Carl has been the target of homophobic attacks from Democrat-affiliated groups. Anything you can do to support this event, we are grateful for.
One of DeMaio's constituents sent to Illinoisans a warning about their out-of-town guest:
We San Diegans know Carl's record. As a San Diego city councilman, he proudly marched in the "pride" parade with his felony burglar boyfriend Johnathan Hale, and voted to name a street after gay-rights hero Harvey Milk and to fly a rainbow flag over Hillcrest.
Though he publicly says he wants to downplay "divisive social issues," it's a safe bet that DeMaio, if elected, will increase division by taking the pro-homosexual side of such issues.
His constituent's claims may sound a bit dramatic, but a recent National Journal story on DeMaio confirms that DeMaio is exploiting his sexual orientation to get funding and media attention. He wants to be the first openly gay Republican in Congress:
DeMaio says he recognizes that the Republican Party is wrong on gay rights, but he’d rather work to change the GOP’s position than become a Democrat. The truth is, he says, he’d prefer to belong to neither party—they’re both “lazy,” and “they’ve grown accustomed to using wedge issues that excite the base and scare the crap out of people”—but he has to caucus with someone. Given the choice, he says, “I believe I have a far better ability to take on the Republican Party, as diminished, damaged, and inadequate as it is on several fronts, and try to change it.”
He is aware that he’s something of a token for the GOP, a potential ticket back to “big tent” status. (“His candidacy has national implications for how the Republican Party is perceived,” read an invitation to an April fundraiser in Palm Springs.) But if his run is a test of whether the party is really ready to look beyond a gay candidate’s sexual orientation, it also hints at a future in which gay voters might someday be more likely to be openly Republican.