Election 2014

DeMaio Concedes; No Gay Republicans Elected to Congress (This Time)


Haunted by Filner's "legacy?"
Carl Demaio

Though Carl DeMaio, an openly gay, libertarian-leaning Republican running for a House seat representing San Diego, was ahead in the vote at the end of the Election Day, late mail-in votes and provisional ballots did him in. DeMaio has lost to Democratic incumbent Rep. Scott Peters by a margin of less than 5,000 votes. He conceded the race Sunday.

He told the San Diego Union-Tribune, "Because I care about San Diego, I wish Mr. Peters the best and hope he will endeavor to represent the district well."

DeMaio's close defeat makes it 0 for 3 as far as electing gay Republicans this cycle. I highlighted the three of them over the summer. Dan Innis ended up losing his primary in New Hampshire to a more traditional business-oriented, secure-the-border conservative. Richard Tisei in Massachusetts lost his second attempt at earning a House seat to young, progressive war veteran Seth Moulton, who defeated the Democratic, scandal-tainted incumbent Rep. John Tierney in the primaries.

We followed the three candidates partly because they all had libertarian-friendly components to their campaign platforms (DeMaio is an independent contractor for the Reason Foundation research division's pension reform project). But whether they succeeded as candidates was also a measure of the extent of the "libertarian moment" influence on the Republican Party. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) helped fundraise for DeMaio and Tisei, despite criticism from some social conservatives within the party.

But obviously it's going to be a challenge in the general election when there's resistance to the candidate from both the left and portions of the right. DeMaio got caught up in some nasty personal scandals where a former staff worker accused him of sexual harassment. DeMaio has insisted on innocence and counter-argued that the staff worker was responsible for a plagiarism incident and was fired from the campaign. Then the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Friday that the worker had met with Peters' campaign (There's more about the latest revelations here). It became a big mess and DeMaio's spokesman believes it contributed to the candidate's defeat:

"The false smears impacted or caused an ick factor to our campaign, which we believe turned off evangelical Christians and a group that normally would support Carl," [Dave] McCulloch said. "That factor was likely the reason we came up short."

Not to mention those robocalls from the National Organization for Marriage. Gay candidates were not part of this Republican wave, but the party is still working out its post-Tea-Party identity. Institutional support is a sign of change, regardless of DeMaio's and Tisei's ultimate defeats.

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  1. This is why there are no Gay Republicans….which would be a great name for a wedding band….and band that plays at weddings, not a ring…

  2. Well, congrats to the guy for coming that close in Commiefornia.

  3. That guy is gay? I don’t believe it.

    1. He looks carefree and lighthearted to me.

      1. Probably because of his comfortable shoes. Nothing puts a spring in your step like some really light loafers.

  4. Wait, isn’t this guy supposedly a libertarian? Isn’t that the more important headline for a blog/magazine for, well, libertarians? At least “gay libertarian,” you’d think.

    1. That’s what I heard. And if true, it looks like he would have been the only libertarian to make it to congress this round. So this is indeed very sad news for libertarians.

      1. Far more important. I get that identity politics is a big deal in the U.S. right now, but an even bigger deal is the statist thugs running the country.

        1. Unless you’re cheerleading for the statist thugs, in which case identity politics is a veneer of smegma over your centralizing policies.

      2. And if true, it looks like he would have been the only libertarian to make it to congress this round.

        Huh? DeMaio is pretty libertarianish, yes, but there certainly are members of Congress who I’d say are at least as libertarian. There’s around 30-40 that I’d count as small l libertarian in the House.

        Do you mean newly elected? I am sad about him, Tisei, and Bongino in MD-06 losing, among others.

        1. John, can you name one of them who just got elected?

          Before the election, I would say there are 3 libertarians in congress:




          That’s it.

          1. Amash and Massie just got re-elected. I’d argue that, compared to DeMaio, the following House Republicans are just as libertarian (considering their anti-war, pro-pot, anti-defense spending, trade, and other votes):

            Mick Mulvaney, Mark Sanford, Walter Jones, Tom McClintock, Dana Rohrbacher, Raul Labrador, Tim Huelskamp, and Jason Chaffetz. Those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. There are several that are at least significantly better than average, including weirdos like Paul Broun who is great on some issues (pot, anti-war) but kind of extreme so-con on some others (no porn in military shops). Or guys like Don Young who is good on pot

            Unfortunate news also about what happened to Bentivolio.

          2. If you wouldn’t include, say, Mark Sanford, then I’d argue that the problem is laregely your ignorance (though a healthy ignorance, I know too much about Congress).

  5. Do mail-in and provisional ballots EVER tip these close races to the Republican ?

    1. Definitely not in California, and not in general. Very occasionally in a military-heavy state. (Naturally, in those cases you see Democrats insisting that it is a mockery of the electoral process to count the votes of sailors whose ballots, filled out before election day, didn’t make it back, while Republicans insist that every vote must be counted.) In many areas Republicans do pretty well in early voting.

  6. 0-3 out Republicans. Probably some closeted still. Though I doubt you’re going to congratulate Lindsey Graham on re-election.

    1. There has to be something in the water in SC. And I’ve been thinking of moving there. Now I am not sure how much I want to be around people who would elect that scumbag multiple times.

      1. As opposed to what state that never elects scumbags?

      2. Nicest thing is that at least the same electorate gave Tim Scott a lot more votes than Lindsey.

        Also, Mark Sanford and Mick Mulvaney are quite good from a libertarian perspective. The other Republican Reps there are a mixed bag.

  7. Well, that sucks.

  8. Was the reason that the San Diego Chamber of Commerce endorsed Rep. Scott Peters instead of DeMaio due to the latter’s libertarian leanings?

    And did Rep. Peters thank the National Organization or Marriage for this win?

    1. The San Diego Chamber of Commerce will ALWAYS endorse the candidate most likely to engage in crony capitalism.

      1. I would expect as much.

        Although, why even make an endorsement?

        Peters as reelected was/is only going to be a second term rep in the minority. Surely the SDCC had no illusions that the Democrats would take the House.

        If they simply failed to endorse the GOP candidate, their point was still made.

        1. Because Democrats control city council

  9. Was there an exit poll in the SD district?

    If so, is there an indication of what percentage of the gay vote switched and voted for DeMaio?

    There is a relatively large gay population in San Diego, although I have no idea if same is true for that particular district.

    1. Hillcrest is in the 53rd District. The 52nd is designed to be a bit more Republican in nature (La Jolla, Scripps Ranch), the 53rd is more gay and Mexican (Hillcrest and Chula Vista).

      Yay, gerrymandering.

      1. I’m beginning to wonder if the 52nd is actually blue. I guess we’ll find out in 2016 and 2018.

        I hope to see Carl win again in politics. It may take an interlude in an appointed position or private industry, but I think it could happen in the next five years. He was liked by a range of quality people.

  10. Way to go, National Organization for Marriage. Now you’ll be sure to roll back all this gay stuff in 2016.

    You’d think that if they were smart, they’d be aiming for a Molotov-Ribbentrop pact with libertarian gays so they could get at least a little bit of wiggle room with stuff like public accommodation laws. It’s not like fighting gay Republicans is going to make gay marriage any less legal; it’s just going to make it so that when it happens, it’s not going to be on favorable terms for them.

    1. It’s kind of cool that I can be pretty confident that right-wing moralists are going to be relatively powerless in the near future, even compared to libertarians. It would be cooler if the left-wing moralists weren’t becoming an unstoppable force, but I’ll take what I can get.

  11. DeMaio was a jerk who deserved to lose. And why is he proud of being gay?

  12. So the gays were shut out, how about millennials?

  13. Male pages are safe, for now.

  14. I wanted to like DeMaio, but there are more than a couple of guys accusing him off sexism harassment, including former staff.
    The MSM and my local NPR affiliate wanted so badly to dwell more on this, but since he is gay, they barely covered it at all.
    Identity politics vs partisanship can make things do tough on them.

    1. more than a couple of guys accusing him off sexism harassment

      Yawn. Wake me up when there are convictions.

  15. Republicans once more lose the Trunk Vote.
    In AK, Begich will win the Dog-Sled Vote.

    In other news, the DoJ denies that Voter Fraud is an issue at all.

  16. Yeah way ago NOM. Brian Brown I put as my Dumass of the Week pick. What the hell would reelecting a Democrat do any good?! Sure you don’t agree with the GOP’s candidate’s positions on gay marriage, but you could’ve just stayed out of those races at least. Thanks to you idiots, we’ve got progressive leftist crony capitalists elected to Congress instead of those who were closer to the constitution.

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