Is the (anti-gay) Tea Party gaining momentum?

rand_paul
Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul has Tea Party support

The Tea Party candidate for Texas governor, Debra Medina, peaked several weeks before the primary and  came in third. But in other places, candidates supported by the Tea Party are doing well, and many of them hold anti-gay views.

This weekend at the Utah Republican convention, three-term incumbent Sen. Bob Bennett polled third and will not appear on the state’s primary ballot.

One of the reasons cited was Bennett’s 1993 vote for Roberta Achtenberg, a lesbian, to be an undersecretary at HUD under Bill Clinton.

In Florida, a candidate supported by the Tea Party, Marco Rubio, was polling ahead of Gov. Charlie Crist in a U.S. Senate race. So Crist left the Republican Party and is running as an independent. Now, donors are asking Crist for their money back.

—  David Taffet

Superman’s editor running for gov; creationist and pastrami-maker lose

Perry White
Perry White

John Wright did our print edition election coverage this week. Since I was at the Democratic Party’s watch party on Tuesday, I decided to add my own keen observations. Maybe this is why editor Tammye Nash asked John to do our election coverage in the paper this week.

Rick Perry is running against Bill White for governor making it a Perry-White race. Say what you want about either Perry or White, Daily Planet editor Perry White was the greatest editor of all times. Although Tammye is more observant. She notices every time I change into tights and jump out of our window.

White and Linda Chavez-Thompson might make a stronger ticket on the Democratic side, but Shami-Katz would have been far more interesting. A Palestinian and a Jew running together would have been historic. And say what you will about Texans, I thought we were ready to embrace a Muslim governor. And talk about qualifications. Shami is a hairdresser and Katz … well, he simply makes the best pastrami sandwich in the state. I always make at least one stop at his 6th Street deli whenever I’m in Austin. Much more interesting than a race between two attorneys.

And I’m really upset about the District 9 State Board of Education race. Long-time board member Don McLeroy was defeated. McLeroy is a “young-earth creationist.” He believes the dinosaurs lived on earth about 5770 years ago, the same time as Adam and Steve. Because of the size of Texas schoolbook orders, decrees from the Texas Board of Edumacation affect books used around the country. Now, how are those heathens in New York City going to learn real creation science? Their books will be full of facts. The history they learn will be un-rewritten. Well, we’ll still have a couple of home-skoolers on the board.

And am I the only one who wanted the election to come out differently or is everyone in my office simply delighted that I won’t be walking around doing my Debra Medina imitations anymore.

—  David Taffet

Watch Instant Tea for election coverage

Vote 2010 Logo.colorWe’ll be live-blogging tonight’s primary election results right here on Instant Tea, so don’t forget to check back when polls close at 7 p.m. Here are some of the races we’ll be watching closely:

1. Openly gay Dallas County Judge Jim Foster, who chairs the Commissioners Court, faces an uphill battle for the Democratic nomination. Foster is being challenged by Highland Park attorney Clay Jenkins and Dallas Schools President Larry Duncan. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff between the top two candidates will be held April 6. Foster is the first openly gay incumbent previously endorsed by Stonewall Democrats of Dallas to not receive the group’s backing in a bid for re-election. Stonewall, which endorsed Foster in 2006, is backing Duncan this year. Jenkins also has his share of LGBT supporters, including openly gay District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons.

2. Foster and Fitzsimmons are two of four openly LGBT candidates on the ballot in Dallas County. Fitzsimmons should easily fend off a challenge from perennial candidate Johnny Gomez. Meanwhile, former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem John Loza is one of four Democrats in the primary for County Criminal Court No. 5, where a runoff is also likely. Loza and Tony Parker are vying to become the first openly LGBT candidates elected to the judiciary in Dallas County. Parker, who’s running for the 116th Civil District Court seat, doesn’t have an opponent in the primary.

3. Former Houston Mayor Bill White is the heavy favorite to win the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. White’s most formidable challenger is hair care products tycoon Farouk Shami. Stonewall Democrats of Dallas has endorsed White. In the GOP primary, the question is whether incumbent Gov. Rick Perry will avoid a runoff against either U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Tea Party activist Debra Medina.

4. Rob Schlein, the openly gay president of Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas, is running for precinct chair in his Far North Dallas neighborhood against Homer Adams, the husband of Texas Republican Party Chairwoman Cathie Adams. Cathie Adams, former president of the Texas Eagle Forum, has been one of the leading anti-gay voices in North Texas over the last few decades.

5. State Rep. Terri Hodge, a longtime LGBT ally in the House, pleaded guilty to a felony charge in February in connection with the Dallas City Hall corruption case, and is no longer eligible to hold public office. However, Hodge’s name still appears on the ballot, and if she receives more votes than the other candidate in District 100, Eric Johnson, the Democratic nominee will be decided by precinct chairs in the district. Another embattled Democrat, Precinct 5 Constable Jaime Cortes, faces three primary challengers amid an ongoing criminal investigation of his office.

—  John Wright

Did the end of the world happen, and no one told me?

I was going through e-mail and checking LGBT news today, and I found two things that really kind of made me step back and take a look out the window, just to make sure I hadn’t missed some sort of apocalypse.

First, let’s go with e-mail. I got a message today from Mark Dice, one of the “9/11 Truthers,” promoting his idea for people to package up their garbage and mail it to Fox News’ conservative commentator Glenn Beck.

Mr. Dice describes himself as a national conservative political activist, and explains that the “9/11 Truthers” are “people who believe the government is covering up evidence surrounding the September 11th attacks or allowed the attacks to happen on purpose as a pretext for war.” And Glenn Beck has, apparently, had some not so nice things to say about the 9/11 Truthers.

Dice said: “Glenn Beck has repeatedly slandered 9/11 Truthers by saying that the holocaust museum shooter was a hero to us when we despise violence. He has said that we’re the kind of group a Timothy McVeigh would come from, and Beck also said he hates 9/11 victims families and wanted them to shut up when they wanted an investigation.” And the last straw was when Beck did “an ambush interview” with Texas gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina where he “tried putting words in her mouth and called her a 9/11 conspiracy theorist.”

So Mr. Dice thinks Glenn Beck is “a piece of garbage and a slanderous liar.” And Mr. Dice wants people to send Mr. Beck their garbage to make that point. And he made this YouTube video to promote his idea:

Dice hopes everyone will go along with the plan, and that it will prompt Fox News to fire Beck.

So why is that so shocking to me? Because I didn’t really expect to ever hear someone who thinks of themselves as a conservative “dumping” on such a high-profile conservative commentator. In other words, I didn’t expect to agree with a conservative activist.

And then, I found this headline: “Republicans boo anti-gay group speaker.” Good thing I wasn’t taking a drink of my soda when I saw that one, or it would have come right out my nose.

Basically, Ryan Sorba of California Young Americans for Freedom was invited to the podium to speak during a session of the recent Conservative Political Action Conference about how Glenn Beck incorrectly identified him during some protest or something. Instead, Sorba walks to the microphone and immediately begins condemning CPAC for allowing the gay Republican group GOPride to participate in conference.

And guess what. The people in the audience booed him! Seriously! Here’s the video to prove it:

—  admin

Debra Medina's visit to Log Cabin

Rob Schlein and Debra Medina last August
Rob Schlein and Debra Medina last August

Before she became a household name, Texas Republican gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina spoke at a meeting of Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas last August. Medina is the only one of the three GOP candidates to visit the gay Republican group.

Medina didn’t talk much about LGBT issues, answering only one question related to anti-gay language in the Texas Republican Party platform. But LCR President Rob Schlein told me this week he thinks Medina would be good on gay rights given her Libertarian leanings. Schlein also said he likes Medina’s proposal to get rid of property taxes in Texas. Once firmly behind Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, he now says he’s undecided between Hutchison and Medina. The Dallas chapter of Log Cabin won’t be making an official endorsement in the race.

“I think Debra’s got a fair amount of support within the club, but I haven’t taken an official poll,” Schlein told me this week. “I’m still on the fence between those two. … She [Medina] doesn’t want government sticking her nose into business where it doesn’t belong, and I think that would apply to LGBT issues.”

Medina’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for an interview about LGBT issues this week, but after talking with Schlein, I came across some video of Medina’s appearance in August. Here’s a transcript of the lone gay-related question and her response, which you can find at about the 5:50 mark of the clip below.

Question from audience member: “The Texas Republican Party platform has contained some very offensive language to gays and lesbians, for example equating us to child molesters and rapists. saying that we are against God and our founding fathers, very nonsensical language, how do you feel about that?”

Medina: “I think that one of the things I’ve had to do as a Southern Baptist, right-wing Christian conservative is try to remove myself a little bit from that place, and back up to the proper role of government. It is easy for all of us to find that emotion and to react emotionally to things and I think the challenge to our leadership is to look at the challenges that face us, and try to ask some questions about where do we need to be, what’s the role of government and family and community. Rob [Schlein] and I had a little bit of a conversation about that yesterday, and I haven’t been involved in that particular debate. I understand what he was saying, and I look forward to looking into that further, and I think using the party not as a moral club but as a place to talk about public policy and the proper role of government. I’m a Bible-believing Christian. I’m not going to waver on my view of homosexuality. That’s where I am, and I’d be less than honest to tell you anything different than that. But I also don’t believe it’s the government’s job to get in there and do anything about that. And if it’s not the government’s job, then the party probably needs to stay away from it as well.”

—  John Wright