Metroplex Republicans of Dallas got a lesson on social media and politics at their Monday night meeting courtesy of guest speaker and conservative blogger Ashley Sewell, who also happens to be the North Texas field director for anti-gay GOP Senate hopeful Ted Cruz’s campaign.
“This is my own time and my own choice,” Sewell told Dallas Voice of her appearance after the meeting, where she spoke to the audience about various social media platforms. “This was scheduled many, many months ago before I did anything for Ted.”
Metroplex Republicans was the Dallas chapter of Log Cabin Republicans chapter before it was dechartered by the national organization for various reasons last year.
Sewell said her position with Cruz’s campaign involves helping volunteers “get plugged into events and groups and make sure that they are contributing to the campaign in a way that they are excited about.”
A Jan. 12 posting on Sewell’s website mentioned that she would be working as “an independent contractor in his run for U.S. Senate as his DFW Field Director. Sounds snazzy, huh? Snazzy or not, it’s going to be a big job but I’m excited about it. I’ll help manage the events and meetings in north Texas, as well as the volunteers, all in an effort to get Ted’s message out to the voters.”
Cruz expressed one of those messages at a GOP Senate debate hosted by the Eagle Forum at the Dallas Country Club on Wednesday, Feb. 22. At the event, Cruz said he has “something against gay marriage.”
“I don’t support gay marriage,” Cruz said. “I think there is an onslaught right now in this country to tear down traditional marriage, and I don’t think it’s right.”
Cruz also again attacked fellow GOP Senate hopeful Tom Leppert for attending gay Pride while he served as Dallas mayor.
“When the mayor of a city chooses twice to march in a parade celebrating gay pride, that’s a statement, and it’s not a statement I agree with,” Cruz said.
On his campaign website and at candidate forums, Cruz has touted his role, while working for Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, in blocking a gay Texas couple from obtaining a dissolution of their Vermont civil union several years ago. And when a federal appeals court declared California’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional earlier this month, Cruz sent out several anti-gay tweets.
“Unfortunately (and predictably) the Ninth Circuit just ruled that California’s law upholding traditional marriage is unconstitutional,” Cruz wrote in one of the tweets, before asking people to retweet him if they “agree that the courts should not force gay marriage on Texas or the nation.”
At the beginning of Monday night’s meeting, Metroplex Republicans President Rob Schlein questioned whether it’s wise for Republicans to introduce LGBT issues in this political cycle. Schlein also mentioned that he previously told Dallas Voice that when two candidates were equal, he would vote for someone like Leppert who doesn’t attack the gay community.
“I wonder if it’s smart politically to be interjecting gay issues into our election cycle this time. Is it outdated and is it stupid? I say it is,” Schlein said. “So when our Texas candidates for U.S. Senate debated last week at Eagle Forum and each one of them loudly condemned Tom Leppert for merely marching in the gay Pride parade as our city major, does this help any of our prospective leaders win elections, no matter who they are, state or national? I question that.”
When asked about Sewell’s connection to the Cruz campaign, Schlein said that he was unaware of her role until recently.
“She was already scheduled,” he said. “I didn’t even know she was part of the campaign until the other day, and I’m not even sure what she does. I haven’t asked her.”
A potential guest to the group’s April meeting is gay Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu, whose recent outing and allegations have led him to seek support from other groups in his run for Congress, Metroplex Republicans Vice President Rudy Oeftering said.
Oeftering said he made contact with Babeu last week, and after a “great conversation with him,” he wanted him to speak to the group to help “make history to elect the first open gay representative for the House.”
“He’s been a strong conservative for many years,” Oeftering said. “Besides the fact that he’s gay, he’s got pretty unassailable conservative credentials. With this new revelation, there’s a lot of people within the evangelical community that have now discounted him and he’s reaching out to new people and new sources to help him with his campaign.”