The Nooner: SLDN on Navy sex videos; more Super Bowl concerts; new Victory Fund seal

Your midday news roundup from Instant Tea:

• Victory Fund launches endorsement seal (right).

• Happy New Years from Dallas regarding DADT.

• More Super Bowl concerts announced, including Kid Rock and Duran Duran.

• President of Houston GLBT Political Caucus steps down after two years.

• Servicemembers Legal Defense Network responds to Navy sex video controversy.

—  John Wright

Sarah Palin’s endorsement worth squat in Washington. How about in your state?

Map last updated Nov. 3rd. I re-colored the WA figures to reflect outcomes as of Nov. 12th.

Sarah Palin really bombed in Washington state.  Palin endorsed Clint Didier for Senate and John Koster and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers for House, according to Washington Post‘s Palin endorsement tracker (pictured right).  Didier lost in the primaries, Koster lost in the general and McMorris Rodgers was a shoe-in regardless.

There’s no doubt that some of the Republicans newly-elected to the House of Representatives were endorsed by Sarah Palin.  But in how many races was her endorsement actually meaningful?  I wonder how many times Palin stacked her “success” deck by endorsing sure-winners like Washington’s Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.  

From what I can tell, the candidates that Palin endorsed in Washington all won or lost independent of her endorsement.  Below the fold are some details on the three of them.

What about in your state?  Did Palin wave a magic tea bag and influence the outcome, or was she a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing?
Clint Didier (U.S. Senate challenger)

Washington Redskins tight end turned eastern Washington alfalfa farmer and tea party darling, Clint Didier was the first candidate in Washington to be endorsed by Sarah Palin.  In a publicity stunt, Palin summoned Didier away from potential supporters at the Washington State Republican conference back across the state to Richland for a meeting.  ”All geared up for the convention. Then I got the call from Sarah,” he tweeted.

Palin’s endorsement probably didn’t hurt Didier’s tea party credibility, but it couldn’t counterbalance serious credibility flaws in the candidate like this:

Despite his fierce anti-government rhetoric, Didier’s 1000-acre Pasco farm has benefited from direct federal crop subsidies, as well as government-subsidized irrigation water. See my article on that from earlier this week.

Other embarrassments included Didier’s participation one week before the primary in a smear campaign aimed at Dino Rossi, Didier’s major Republican opponent.  A proxy war, the smear campaign was conducted by fixtures of Washington’s radical-right, Sen. Val Stevens and Pastor Joe Fuiten.  Stevens endorsed Didier, Fuiten endorsed Rossi.  Beginning with an open letter from Stevens, the Didier camp alleged that Rossi wasn’t anti-choice enough.  The unseemly sight of “pro-life” advocates turning the fetus into a political football earned the Didier campaign criticism from other conservatives.

Didier came in 3rd in the primary with only 12.8% of the vote.  Dino Rossi would go on to challenge Senator Patty Murray in the general election.

After getting routed in the primary, Didier held hostage his own endorsement of Dino Rossi, conditioning it on Rossi agreeing to pledge.

Didier said he wants Rossi to sign a pledge that he won’t raise taxes, to promise to vote against any plan to increase federal spending, and to personally sponsor the Sanctity of Life Act, a measure that would attempt to ban the U.S. Supreme Court from ruling state abortion restrictions unconstitutional.

Didier quickly became a laughingstock.

[Former state Republican Party Chairman Chris] Vance said Didier, as a political newcomer, didn’t realize how politics should be played. For example, he noted that once Didier made his demands public, Rossi would only seem weak if he agreed to them.

“I would not be so arrogant to give Clint Didier advice on how to block an outside linebacker, but he’s brand new to politics and he doesn’t know how things work,” Vance said.

John Koster (WA-2 House Challenger)

Arch-conservative” is the term that usually comes to mind when describing John Koster.  After the 2010 election, perhaps “law-breaker” and “debate-ducker” will be used as well.  Late in October Publicola reported

…Koster has been accepting illegal corporate campaign contributions. The Federal Election Commission wrote Koster an angry letter back in September, demanding he return all the campaign contributions he received from corporations during the July expenditure reporting period. (Corporations are prohibited from giving money directly to federal political campaigns). …

This quarter’s reports have just been filed, and we checked them today to see if he’d returned the money. Nope. In fact, it looks to us as if Koster is still taking contributions from corporations. Silvergate Farms LLC, Quantum Construction Inc, and Boyden Robinett Association all sound like contributors that are sure to raise flags with the FEC.

On the matter of ducking debates, by the time Koster had backed out last minute of an October 21st televised debate, he’d already ducked three previous public fora.  The press was particularly mystified over Koster’s October 21 cancellation since the reason given by his campaign was that Koster didn’t “like one of the proposed debate panelists, a reporter who works for a newspaper that endorsed him.”.  Poor performance in public debates and interviews was widely recognized to be an Achilles heel for Koster’s big endorser, Sarah Palin.  Indeed, The Stranger‘s Eli Sanders postulated that Koster was avoiding televised debates because his campaign realized that he came across as angry and extreme on television.  The best bet was to just stay out of the spotlight and try to ride the anti-incumbent wave.

Although the 2010 election result wont be officially certified until November 22nd, as of Nov. 12th Koster was trailing Rep. Rick Larsen 48.9% to 51.1% and has conceded.  A few days previously, as Koster’s election-night lead began slipping away, Koster’s campaign manager Larry Stickney “implied Democrats might try to steal the election.”

Though John Koster remains in a position to win, we are keenly aware that there are those who will do everything they can to keep this seat out of the hands of the new House majority,” Koster’s campaign manager Larry Stickney said in a statement.

Larry Stickney also managed Koster’s 2000 bid for the same seat which he also lost to Rick Larsen.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-5, WA)

Cathy McMorris Rodgers is a 3-term Republican incumbent in a heavily Republican district covering half of eastern Washington.  Running for re-election against a little-known Democrat, McMorris Rodgers was heavily favored to win re-election before Palin’s endorsement, and did so easily.  Palin’s endorsement was entirely superfluous.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

What does Chris Heinbaugh think about Mayor Leppert’s decision to endorse Rick Perry?

Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert on Wednesday endorsed Republican Gov. Rick Perry for re-election.

The Dallas Morning News described it as a “rare display of public partisanship for Leppert,” and said it marked the first time he’s endorsed a candidate for major office. The DMN also noted that Leppert may run for U.S. Senate in 2012, when Perry presumably might return the favor.

Leppert has been generally supportive of the LGBT community and has an openly gay chief of staff, Chris Heinbaugh. However, Leppert is also a member of First Baptist Church of Dallas, which is led by anti-gay Senior Pastor Robert Jeffress.

Perry, meanwhile, is virulently anti-gay and spearheaded Texas’ 2005 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Leppert says his decision to endorse Perry was based on their shared views about economic development and job creation.

Instant Tea asked Heinbaugh on Thursday what he thinks about the endorsement.

“I’m not going to comment on it,” Heinbaugh said. “It’s his business what he wants to do.”

—  John Wright

Wash. Post editor won’t defend or explain endorsement of NOM-backed candidate

The Washington Post’s endorsement of NOM-backed candidate Delano Hunter has caused a firestorm of criticism. We blasted it here. Over the weekend, Kerry Eleveld took a whack at it, too, stating “When The Washington Post endorsed Delano Hunter for D.C. City Council it endorsed homophobia by justifying his stance against marriage equality.”

The author of the Post editorial, Joanne Armao, tried to downplay Hunter’s homophobia despite his deep ties to one of the nation’s leading homophobic organizations. NOM exists to be homophobic. Jeremy Hooper posted the mailer sent by NOM in support of Hunter. It’s homophobic.

Michelangelo Signorile invited Armao to be a guest on his show today to discuss the editorial. She refused. Armao told Signorile’s executive producer David Guggenheim that the editorial speaks for itself and she wouldn’t be in a position to elaborate or discuss how much (if anything) the Post knew about NOM’s relationship with Delano Hunter.

Okay, then.

Ms. Armao would only have to do a search of her own paper to know about NOM’s relationship with Hunter. It’s been reported here (that one actually includes the homophobic mailer from NOM) and here.

Well, Ms. Armao has quite a perch at the Washington Post’s editorial page. She shouldn’t tell Washingtonians that marriage equality doesn’t matter. And, she shouldn’t be telling us that Hunter isn’t a homophobe when his campaign’s existence is so deeply tied to NOM.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

N.Y. AG Endorsement Questioned

A prominent gay supporter of New York attorney general hopeful Kathleen Rice questioned the process by which a statewide gay rights group endorsed Eric Schneiderman, her rival for the Democratic nomination.
Daily News

—  John Wright

Dallas could elect 1st gay judge

Judicial candidates John Loza, Tonya Parker among 4 LGBTs running in local races in 2010

By John Wright | News Editor wright@dallasvoice.com
IN THE RUNNING | Dallas County District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons, clockwise from top left, County Judge Jim Foster, attorney Tonya Parker and former Councilman John Loza are LGBT candidates who plan to run in Dallas County elections in 2010. The filing period ends Jan. 4.

Dallas County has had its share of openly gay elected officials, from Sheriff Lupe Valdez to District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons to County Judge Jim Foster.
But while Foster, who chairs the Commissioners Court, is called a “judge,” he’s not a member of the judiciary, to which the county’s voters have never elected an out LGBT person.

Two Democrats running in 2010 — John Loza and Tonya Parker — are hoping to change that.

“This is the first election cycle that I can remember where we’ve had openly gay candidates for the judiciary,” said Loza, a former Dallas City Councilman who’s been involved in local LGBT politics for decades. “It’s probably long overdue, to be honest with you.”

Dallas County’s Jerry Birdwell became the first openly gay judge in Texas when he was appointed by Gov. Ann Richards in 1992. But after coming under attack for his sexual orientation by the local Republican Party, Birdwell, a Democrat, lost his bid for re-election later that year.

Also in the November 1992 election, Democrat Barbara Rosenberg defeated anti-gay Republican Judge Jack Hampton.

But Rosenberg, who’s a lesbian, wasn’t out at the time and didn’t run as an openly LGBT candidate.

Loza, who’s been practicing criminal law in Dallas for the last 20 years, is running for the County Criminal Court No. 5 seat. Incumbent Tom Fuller is retiring. Loza said he expects to face three other Democrats in the March primary, meaning a runoff is likely. In addition to groups like Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, he said he’ll seek an endorsement from the Washington, D.C.-based Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which provides financial backing to LGBT candidates nationwide.

Parker, who’s running for the 116th Civil District Court seat, declined to be interviewed for this story. Incumbent Bruce Priddy isn’t expected to seek re-election, and Parker appears to be the favorite for the Democratic nomination.

If she wins in November, Parker would become the first LGBT African-American elected official in Dallas County.

Loza and Parker are among four known local LGBT candidates in 2010.
They join fellow Democrats Fitzsimmons and Foster, who are each seeking a second four-year term.

While Foster is vulnerable and faces two strong challengers in the primary, Fitzsimmons is extremely popular and said he’s confident he’ll be re-elected.

“I think pretty much everybody knows that the District Clerk’s Office is probably the best-run office in Dallas County government,” Fitzsimmons said. “I think this county is a Democratic County, and I think I’ve proved myself to be an outstanding county administrator, and I think the people will see that.”

Randall Terrell, political director for Equality Texas, said this week he wasn’t aware of any openly LGBT candidates who’ve filed to run in state races in 2010.

Although Texas made headlines recently for electing the nation’s first gay big-city mayor, the state remains one of 20 that lack an out legislator.

Denis Dison, a spokesman for the Victory Fund, said he’s hoping Annise Parker’s victory in Houston last week will inspire more qualified LGBT people to run for office.

“It gives other people permission really to think of themselves as leaders,” Dison said.

The filing period for March primaries ends Jan. 4.


This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 18, 2009.

—  admin