House GOP Caucus Could Become Just A Bit More Diverse After Tonight

Capitol Building Daytime 1

Tonight’s elections could bring some small degree of diversity to the House Republican Caucus, including possibly its first African-American female and its first openly gay Member of Congress:

House Republicans are expected to expand their majority in Tuesday’s election in part by welcoming a new crop of fiery conservatives – but also by adding something that has been missing from the GOP: diversity.

Republicans in the House will probably add their first African American representative in recent years, if front-runner Mia Love picks up the south Salt Lake City-area open seat. Another black Republican, former CIA undercover officer Will Hurd, is in a tight race with a Democratic incumbent in west Texas.

In addition, House Republicans could see two openly gay congressmen in a conference that currently has none. Republicans Richard Tisei in Massachusetts and Carl DeMaio in San Diego are both in tough races against Democrats.

Adding to the diversity would be a milestone for House Speaker John A. Boehner, who has crisscrossed the country to expand the playing field for his party.

House Republicans are expected to gain as many as 12 seats, “with slightly larger GOP gains not out of the question,” according to David Wasserman, the House analyst at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

The reinforcements in numbers will help Boehner lead the often unruly conference, giving the Ohio Republican a healthy cushion for tight votes.

Boehner and his party could also benefit if diverse newcomers help improve the party’s brand. It’s no secret the Republican Party has struggled to broaden its base. The last time the House included a black Republican was after Tim Scott of South Carolina and Allen West of Florida were elected in 2010. Scott was appointed to the Senate two years later and West was defeated in a reelection bid.

Of the candidates discussed here, the most likely win for the GOP seems to be Love, who is running a second time for Utah’s 4th Congressional District. In 2012, she lost the race to Jim Mathison, a Democrat who had been representing Utah in Congress since 2001 in the 2nd District before he ended up in the 3rd District after redistrict and the creation of a new Congressional District for the state. Love lost by less than 800 votes two years ago, and most people who were following that race said that the loss could be attributed to a combination of Mathison’s long incumbency since the new district included large parts of his old district and the fact that Love, who had been elected Mayor of Sandy Springs, Utah just two years beforehand, did not run the best campaign, especially since she seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time outside the state at conservative conferences prior to the election. This year, though, Mathison has retired and Charlie Cook’s Political Report lists the District as “Likely Republican”  while Stuart Rothenberg lists it at “Safe Republican.” Tsiei and DeMaio face tougher races but both, and Tsiei in particular, could benefit from stronger GOP candidates further up the ballot. Will Hurd, meanwhile, has a tougher battle in Texas-23, which both Rothenberg and Cook list as “Lean Democratic,”

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds 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.

Comments

  1. Just Me says:

    If Marilnda Garcia can pull off an upset of Kuster in NH (long shot but not impossible) the GOP would also have a Latina representative.

  2. stonetools says:

    So the House Republican caucus might get a self-hating gay person and a self-hating black female person. They’ll be joining a party whose platform is explicitly anti gay rights, explicitly anti reproductive rights, and which is in practice anti minority voting rights.

    Republican Party Platform

    Progress, I guess.

    Anbody saw the character Stephen in Django Unchained?

  3. JohnMcC says:

    How interesting that the national demographic changes and cultural changes are creeping into the Repub party and that the only way that this is interpreted by conservatives is that they are shown to have the best arguments. Water is creeping under their doors and yet they deny that there is a flood outside their closed little house.

  4. al-Ameda says:

    @stonetools:

    So the House Republican caucus might get a self-hating gay person and a self-hating black female person. They’ll be joining a party whose platform is explicitly anti gay rights, explicitly anti reproductive rights, and which is in practice anti minority voting rights.

    The Republican Party outreach effort continues.

  5. James Pearce says:

    We’ll know the Republican party is diverse when we’re not playing the “ooh, look a gay person” or “ooh, look a black person” game.

  6. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @James Pearce: We’ll know the Republican party is diverse when we’re not playing the “ooh, look a gay person” or “ooh, look a black person” game.

    Yes, because those diametrically opposed to and filled with hatred and contempt of the GOP are the best objective observers of such things.

    So, basically… never?

  7. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @stonetools: So the House Republican caucus might get a self-hating gay person and a self-hating black female person.

    Shorter stonetools: how DARE those minorities stray off our plantation and think for themselves!

    And, I guess, the Democrats are filled with self-hating white males?

  8. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Yes, because those diametrically opposed to and filled with hatred and contempt of the GOP are the best objective observers of such things.

    Oh, please…you’re not asking for objectivity. You’re asking for your usual hackery.

    Having 2 gay people and 1 black woman in a caucus of over 230 is objectively not “a range of different things,” which is the objective definition of “diversity.”

  9. Gustopher says:

    @stonetools: They’re not self-hating, they just want lower taxes more than equal rights.

    And the black Republicans… I’ve worked for some of the big, well known, household name software companies, and nearly every black I have met there was 1) qualified; 2) had experienced discrimination first hand; 3) had some doors opened because of their race (affirmative action, special minority outreach programs, etc); 4) resented numbers 2 and 3. They were all Democrats, and supported the outreach programs and the affirmative action to help compensate for the discrimination, but I could see it going the other way. Also, I am awesome at starting uncomfortable lunch conversations at the office.

  10. CSK says:

    @stonetools:

    I wouldn’t describe Richard Tisei as a “self-hating gay.” He recently married the man he’s been partners with for 25 years, and has always been open about his sexual preference. He’s a social liberal and a fiscal conservative.

  11. Jim Treacher says:

    @stonetools: They must hate themselves if they disagree with you.

  12. Jim Treacher says:

    @James Pearce: You’ll always play that game. It’s your game.

  13. Jim Treacher says:

    @James Pearce: So stop voting against blacks and gays just because they disagree with you.

  14. James Pearce says:

    @Jim Treacher:

    So stop voting against blacks and gays just because they disagree with you.

    Like most of the country, if I’m voting for a black person or a gay person, I’m probably voting for a Democrat.

    Why don’t you stop voting against blacks and gay just because they disagree with you?

  15. Jim Treacher says:

    @James Pearce: Because I’m not obsessed with identity politics. You vote against Republicans — even if they’re black, or gay, or whatever group of designated victims you want to claim as your own — and then you criticize the Republicans for not having enough minorities in Congress.

    You’re silly. I like it! 🙂

  16. James Pearce says:

    @Jim Treacher:

    Because I’m not obsessed with identity politics.

    Obviously you don’t know me….identity politics? HA!

    But I’ll let that go.

    What I’d like you to understand is that I have never in my life even had the opportunity to vote for a black or gay Republican. In any given election, a three-fingered man can count the black or gay Republican candidates on one hand.

    You’ve asked yourself why. That’s a good start. It’s an interesting question.

    Your answer, though, is a joke. Try again.

  17. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Shorter stonetools: how DARE those minorities stray off our plantation and think for themselves!
    And, I guess, the Democrats are filled with self-hating white males?

    Why do conservatives and Republicans love to refer to Blacks as ‘being on the plantation’ when they’re referring to the fact that Blacks have been voting strongly Democratic since passage of the Civil Right and Voting Rights Acts?

  18. Jim Treacher says:

    @James Pearce: I didn’t say you’re obsessed with identity politics. I said I’m not. You asked a question, and I answered it. I won’t make that mistake again.

  19. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @al-Ameda: That was in response to stonetools’ declaration that the most important element in a black person or gay person’s identity is their race and/or orientation, and that should be the only determining factor in their voting. He/she/it declared that for them to put any other matter as more important than stonetools’ idea of identity politics means that they are “self-hating.”

    His/her/its attitude seems to be that the left “owns” their loyalty, and for them to not side with the Democrats is only explainable by some sort of mental disorder.

  20. James Pearce says:

    @Jim Treacher:

    I didn’t say you’re obsessed with identity politics. I said I’m not. You asked a question, and I answered it. I won’t make that mistake again.

    No, Jim, your mistake was thinking I’m an idiot.

    Your first contribution to the thread was: “You’ll always play that game. It’s your game.” Then you’re saying “I didn’t say you’re obsessed with identity politics?” Oh, you didn’t? You mean, I misunderstood you?

    No, dude. I understood you all too well….

  21. Jim Treacher says:

    @James Pearce:

    No, Jim, your mistake was thinking I’m an idiot.

    Of course you’re not, sweetie.

  22. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @James Pearce: No, Jim, your mistake was thinking I’m an idiot.

    No, his mistake was in thinking you’re an ordinary idiot.

    You are definitely no ordinary idiot…

  23. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    To Jim Treacher: If this is an example of what your blog is like, I understand why I don’t bother to visit–no substance.

  24. Jim Treacher says:

    @Just ‘nutha’ ig’rant cracker: That’s really interesting.