A gay Austin resident claims Republican Party leaders reneged on a promise of financial support, forcing him to run as a write-in candidate in the Republican primary election for the 25th congressional district of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Edward Mokrzy, 24, a former Dallas resident, said he had planned to file for a place on the ballot in the primary before the National Republican Congressional Committee cancelled a pledge to provide his $3,125 filing fee. The group pulled its support after he announced he would run as openly gay and on a government reform platform, he said.
“I think what happened was that the Texas Republican Party got scared because they saw me as actually having a chance of winning Austin and of winning the election,” Mokrzy said.
Mokrzy said he suspects Republican Party leaders would prefer not to see an openly gay Republican elected to office. Austin is so liberal that a gay candidate with progressive ideas about government reform would stand a good chance of winning, he said.
“That’s speculation, but I do truly believe that,” Mokrzy said.
Mokrzy said for a win in that congressional district, the candidate must carry Austin.
Mokrzy said Republican leaders originally planned to pay his filing fee because of the absence of a Republican in the race.
“They decided they would do it just to have a Republican running for the seat,” Mokrzy said.
Incumbent U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett and Libertarian Party candidate Meagan Barclay are the only other candidates to announce their candidacy for the 25th congressional district.
The congressional district runs from Austin south to McAllen in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Doggett was elected to Congress in 1994.
Carl Forti, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee said he was unaware of such a pledge being made to Mokrzy. “I don’t know if there was a specific pledge to him or not,” Forti said.
“If you look, we haven’t paid for anybody’s filing fee in Texas at all,” Forti said. “That’s not something we typically do.”
Mokrzy said that although he is young with a limited education, he believes it is possible to win the election. Some people have asked him why he would start his political career by seeking a congressional office, rather than a local or regional one, he said.
“I feel I’m qualified based on the fact that I’m an American, and that I see our country going down the wrong path,” Mokrzy said. “My rights and the rights of every other American are being infringed upon. I might be a Republican, but I’m not stupid. I see what’s going on.”
Carla Halbrook, a spokeswoman for Log Cabin Republicans who lives in Dallas, said she is unfamiliar with Mokrzy or any support for him from gay Republicans in Texas.
“I don’t know anything about him, and I haven’t heard anything about him,” Halbrook said.
Mokrzy said he has support from a few individual members of Log Cabin Republicans.
Mokrzy said he decided to enter politics after a “little college” and a short career of working for large retail stores.
“I got to thinking I’ve got to change something,” Mokrzy said. “I started studying up on my interests. Politics has interested me since before George W. Bush ever entered the presidential race.”
Mokrzy said he has savings to finance his campaign and is seeking contributions from others. Mokrzy grew up in Illinois and lived in Dallas for two years before going to Austin six months ago.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 13, 2006.