Gay Republican Runs Ad Featuring Partner

Carl DeMaio, a Republican running for Congress in California, is running an ad that many Republicans probably don’t approve of:

In what could be a political first, a gay Republican congressional candidate released a campaign ad featuring shots with his partner.

Carl DeMaio, who is running for the GOP nomination in California’s 52nd Congressional District to challenge Democratic Rep. Scott Peters, included shots of he and his partner Johnathan Hale at a gay pride parade. GOP consultants and independent media analysts told the Wall Street Journal that they believed it was that first time that a candidate from either party had released an ad with a same-sex partner.

“This is who I am,” DeMaio told the Journal. “It’s something that’s important to me. I want to embrace equality, and feel like the party should, too.”

He told the newspaper that he had wanted to feature Hale in ads during his unsuccessful run for San Diego mayor in 2012, but his then-campaign advisers discouraged it. He’s since hired new talent, he said.

Here’s how DeMaio put it in that Wall Street Journal interview:

“This is who I am,” Mr. DeMaio said in an interview. “It’s something that’s important to me. I want to embrace equality, and feel like the party should, too.”

Mr. DeMaio, who presents himself as a “new generation Republican,” isn’t a long shot trying to make a splash. He is one of the party’s top challengers this year as it tries to unseat Democratic Rep. Scott Peters. Although other Republicans are running for the seat, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) has given Mr. DeMaio $10,000, and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) contributed $5,000. Conservative Georgia Rep. Tom Price kicked in $1,000.

In addition to Mr. DeMaio, two other openly gay Republicans are trying to unseat incumbent Democrats in the House: Dan Innis in New Hampshire and Richard Tisei in Massachusetts.

The difference between DeMaio and Messers. Innis and Tisei is that DeMaio is considered the frontrunner in a race that many analysts, including the Cook Political Report, view as a toss-up. In other words, there’s a good chance that DeMaio could actually defeat his Democratic opponent and join his Republican colleagues in Congress.

Here’s the ad:

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2014, Congress, US Politics, , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. C. Clavin says:

    Marriage equality is a Conservative position…so it makes sense.
    Unfortunately for DeMaio there are few, if any, Conservatives in the Republican Party.

  2. al-Ameda says:

    As you know, Republicans used to be the first party of preference for Gays, primarily because of a libertarian aspect, a right to privacy and so forth. Log Cabin Republicans, remember?

    When Republicans went all in on social conservatism and “moral majority” or evangelical-based politics the GOP effectively threw the Gay vote under the bus . Now, that may not have mattered much 15 years ago, however it has certainly affected the view that a whole new young generation of voters has toward the Republican Party today.

  3. C. Clavin says:

    So does this mean DeMaio is attacking Fat Rushbo? (and by extension; Jenos?)

  4. legion says:

    I generally have little respect for “single-issue” voters, but one area I suspend that in is LGBT issues. When the overwhelming majority of a party considers you unworthy of treatment as a citizen – and when a significant minority of same literally, actively, wants you to die – that’s a pretty solid reason to vote for _anyone_ over a Republican candidate. Actually running on that party’s platform as a homosexual is simply too boggling to fit in my head.

  5. C. Clavin says:

    In the meantime Kansas is codifying discrimination and calling it religious freedom…which of course to zealots means the freedom to impose your beliefs on others.

  6. James Pearce says:

    @C. Clavin: Seriously…..

    And Rush wonders why “homosexuality” has a political agenda? What is wrong with these people?

  7. Stonetools says:

    We see here Doug continuing to hope that the Republican Party reforms by accepting gays. Doubt it will happen though. Even if the Republicans vote for him, the Republican Party as a whole is wedded to suppressing gays. It’s written into their party platform. I see this as a one off.

  8. Just 'nutha... says:

    Glad you guys told me that his partner was in the commercial, but I still missed who it is. Can anybody tell me which scene he’s in?

    I went back to the column to see, but I didn’t recognize a gay pride parade segment either. I guess my gaydar is still broken.

  9. bill says:

    gay republican? that’s un-possible….must have hired someone to do this, next ting you know they’ll have blacks, hispanics, asians, indians……like that’ll ever happen.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just ‘nutha…: he is holding his partners hand at the 48,49 second mark. If you didn’t see the Gay pride parade your gaydar isn’t just broken, it’s been smashed to smithereens.