Ex-Log Cabin president lost precinct chair race to Homer Adams — who is married to Eagle Forum President Cathie Adams — by 3 votes in 2010
ANNA WAUGH | Staff Writer
After losing two years ago by just three votes, gay Republican leader Rob Schlein is again challenging Homer Adams — the husband of anti-gay activist Cathie Adams — for precinct chair in Far North Dallas.
“The reason I’m running again is I don’t want to risk Dallas prosperity being ruined by some of the liberals that comprise the Democratic Party. So, I’m advocating for a change in strategy and tactics,” he said. “I’m just going to go out there and do it again and see what the voters decide.”
Schlein, president of Metroplex Republicans of Dallas, said he wants to grow the county Republican Party to help more Republicans get elected by reaching “new voters that traditionally the Republican Party doesn’t speak to.” He also wants to tailor the party’s platform to become a “more modern and welcoming party” by replacing some of the negative language about the LGBT and other minority communities to “more general conservative positions.”
“I think rather than speak to specific policies about any minority community, the platform would be served to speak in high-level terms such as strengthening families, however those families are defined,” he said.
Formerly the president of Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas, Schlein said everyone in his precinct knows about his involvement with the organization because Adams’ campaign literature in 2010 mentioned his affiliation with the group. After the Dallas chapter of Log Cabin Republicans was dechartered by the national organization last year, Schlein started Metroplex Republicans.
He said he’s unsure if the mention hurt his campaign because he lost by so small a margin.
“I don’t know if hurt or not,” he said. “I mean, I came within three votes of winning.”
Precinct 1800, renamed after redistricting to 2041, is still in far north Dallas.
Homer Adams said he has been precinct chair for 12 years and enjoys “informing people on the issues and candidates.” Adams is the husband of Eagle Forum President Cathie Adams, known as one of the most anti-gay voices in Dallas.
The precinct is the largest Republican precinct as far as turnout in the county with 1,800 to 2,500 people normally coming out to vote, Adams said, adding that the turnout is already so good that it would be hard to excite voters if they are not already impassioned for election year.
As for growing the party and becoming more inclusive, Adams said Schlein has voiced his ideas at the central district meeting but “it was not accepted at all and that’s all I can say about it.”
Dallas County Republican Party Chairman Wade Emmert said he became involved in the county party in 2007 and none of the precinct chairs have been openly gay.
Emmert said he was unsure if there have been any before 2007.
Omar Narvaez, president of the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, said there are 20 openly LGBT Democratic precinct chairs for the county’s 219 chairs.
Emmert said Schlein is “making some inroads in that precinct” and that while many people know he is gay, he is “more than that. He’s also very much a fiscal conservative and pushes conservative values.”
“The real goal of the precinct chair is to motivate their precinct to get out and vote,” he said. “If a precinct chair is effective, then I think it doesn’t matter how long they’ve been there because the precinct chair has developed relationships. If a precinct chair is not effective, then obviously there needs to be a change.”
The county Republican Party has been more inclusive over the last few years “than we have in a long time,” Emmert said, adding that he thinks the party should continue to be so.
“I think the party does need to be more inclusive, not to any particular demographic, but I think we as a party need to realize how to disagree on issues but still work together on the big issues,” he said.
“As long as everybody realizes that my goal is to win elections, I’m going to talk to anybody that wants to vote Republican or I think I can convince them to vote Republican,” Emmert added.
Schlein said that changing the platform to represent conservative principles and removing the negative language would help “reflect the demographics of our county” by exciting the younger generation and help Republicans win countywide elections.
“If they want to start winning elections locally, I think it’s crucial [to change the platform],” he said, adding that some people believe if Republicans are not elected this cycle, they may not win the county back. “This really is a make-or-break-it time for a lot of people’s viewpoints for the local GOP party because if you can’t show that you can win elections, it really becomes difficult to recruit quality candidates.”
Emmert said both Schlein and Adams are involved in the party and voters will chose which of the two should represent the precinct.
“I’ve seen Rob around. He’s been involved, but Homer has been, too,” he said. “They represent two different views and that’s kind of what I think makes the party great. I think Homer and Rob have been cordial to one another and we’ll see how it plays out.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 4, 2012.