More gay-baiting campaign tactics

Posted on 29 Dec 2009 at 2:40pm
Republican Senate candidates Mark Kirk, left, and Andy Martin.
Republican Senate candidates Mark Kirk, left, and Andy Martin.

Houston Mayor-elect Annise Parker easily won her runoff election with former City Attorney Gene Locke earlier this month, despite some pretty virulent anti-gay campaigning by some in the Bayou City who didn’t like Parker simply because she is a lesbian.

So you’d think that Parker’s win would send a pretty strong message that gay-baiting is no longer a good way to win votes, or at least that such tactics were no longer a sure-fire method for winning. But apparently Andy Martin, a Republican candidate for President Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat, didn’t get the message.

Martin is a long-shot candidate in a field of six running for Republican nomination for the seat, and apparently he thought accusing the frontrunner, Mark Kirk, of surrounding himself with gays — and maybe even being gay himself — would help close the gap.

According to OpposingViews.com, polls show Kirk has 41 percent of the vote; his five opponents have 13 percent combined. Martin is at the back of the pack with about 2 percent.

On Monday, Dec. 28, Martin ran a radio ad saying there is a “solid rumor that Kirk is a homosexual,” a comment Martin attributed to conservative Republican businessman Jack Roeser. Martin’s ad also claimed that local conservative leader Raymond True said Kirk has surrounded himself with gay people.

Mr. True told the Chicago Tribune he never said Kirk was gay, although he did said “that there were some people on his [Kirk's] staff that had a special orientation.” And while Mr. Roeser wasn’t available for comment, there is a podcast on his Web site that includes a line about the “solid rumor” that Kirk is gay.

Although Parker’s race in Houston was nonpartisan, both she and Locke have very solid Democratic credentials. Perhaps Martin thought that the Republicans would be more open to his anti-gay message. The fact is, though, OpposingViews.com reports, that the local GOP is working hard to distance itself from him, too. But that may be more about his other, shall we say, eccentricities, and less about his anti-gay position.

As it turns out, Martin has run for a number offices over the years and hasn’t won any of those campaigns. He has been sanctioned in federal court for filing hundreds of lawsuits, and was found unfit to practice law by the Illinois Supreme Court. He’s also known for his anti-Semitic views, having once called the judge in a bankruptcy proceeding against him a “crooked, slimy Jew, who has a history of lying and thieving common to members of his race.” Martin also expressed sympathy to the perpetrators of the Holocaust.

GOP chair Pat Brady said Martin’s recent radio ad is “consistent with his history of bizarre behavior and often times hate-filled speech which has no place in the Illinois Republican Party,” according to OpposingViews.com. “Mr. Martin will no longer be recognized as a legitimate Republican candidate by the Illinois Republican Party.”

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