He was a hard-hitting pension reformer on the San Diego City Council. Unions did not like him.
There was another conflict: he was openly gay,.
The fiscal conservatism has been a draw for all kinds of candidates to the Republican fold.
DeMaio ran for mayor in 2012, and lost to Bob Filner.
Then power players in the San Diego area decided to work behind the scenes for another candidate to run for mayor once Bob Filner was forced to step down following eighteen counts of sexual misconduct against female city hall staff.
Kevin Faulconer would run for mayor in the special election. Carl DeMaio would run for Congress.
|CD-52 (San Diego)|
The idea made sense, from a political and statistical perspective. DeMaio did very well in the CD-52 region, even though he lost the mayor's race city wide.
However, party leaders have been interested in shifting the GOP platform considerably, and perhaps their first major test focused on pushing Carl DeMaio as the favorite.
Not only is DeMaio openly gay, he is pro-abortion, pro-amnesty, pro-gun control, and pro cap-and-trade. What gives?
These are not Republican values. This agenda belongs to the Democratic Party.
DeMaio is facing multiple attacks, from left and right, in this highly contested race. The party demographics still lean Republican, but liberal Democratic incumbent Scott Peters has not given away the fight.
He was down seven points in the first major poll released to the public. Peters was the underdog in his own district. Following allegations of sexual harassment against DeMaio, and staffers from city hall confirming these stories, plus reports of plagiarism regarding city pensions, as well as a raid in his office, DeMaio is cratering.
A recent poll suggested that he was still one point ahead, but not major conservative groups, including Defense-of-Marriage groups as well as Tea Party cohorts, are supporting Scott Peters. Because Peters will remain in the minority (since the Dems are going to lose more House Seats this year), the recognize that he will do less damage than a potential Congressman DeMaio tenure.
An openly gay Republican will have more influence to shift the party platform away from true marriage and life, along with other issues. LGBTQ interests will promote DeMaio. Conservative groups fear that he personally will use his win as a platform for undermining the institution of marriage, as well.
Perhaps out of political correctness or fear of bigotry charges, conservative critics of gay Republican DeMaio find him unethical and sleazy in his political dealings, too.
The fact that this one candidate is taking up so much political air should disturb Republicans and political pundits in general. Party leaders in San Diego and throughout California might also want to rethink the candidate vetting process for the future.
Just because party leaders behind back doors solicit one candidate for an office, they cannot readily assume that all Republican voters are going to line up and stand by their man (gay or straight) just because he has an R after his name on the ballot.
|Main Page from Website "Republicans and Independents for Scott Peters|
The website includes the following remarks:
What is Defensive Tactical Voting? Simply this: voting for a candidate who, while doing some damage to society, will do less damage than the other candidate(s) on the ballot. And who will provide a greater opportunity for defeat in a future election. We are aware of the fact that this strategy cannot always be applied broadly, but only to specific races.
The website then explains why DeMaio poses the greater threat:
DeMaio is an avowed LGBTQ activist (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning).
The LGBTQ movement believes in a genderless society, where God's order of male and female is denied.
DeMaio has made it very clear that if he were elected, he would cater to the LGBTQ activists. Here is a newspaper interview comment from Carl DeMaio: "When I'm elected mayor, I will be one of the highest ranking LGBT officials in the nation. And the highest ranking Republican LGBT official. While my focus will be on fiscal and economic reform in San Diego, I also recognize the opportunity and obligation to serve as a role model for the LGBT community.
But perhaps of greater danger is the fact that his rise in the Party would contribute greatly to a seismic shift: a loss of basic moral and family values in the Republican Party platform. DeMaio will actively advocate a platform where foundational moral and family issues would essentially be removed from discussion, looking virtually identical to those planks in the Democrat platform.
These are serious concerns for conservatives, and party leaders underestimated the backlash from the grassroots to pushing a DeMaio candidacy. There was another Republican candidate, Kirk Jorgensen, who was across-the-board conservative. He would have united Republican interests throughout the district, and certainly would have fired up the base.
Establish interests in tax reform and immigration reform do not connect with the everyday voters who will get out and vote. Amnesty is immoral, and tax reform is too academic. Bread and butter issues do matter, but so do commitments to faith and family. Ronald Reagan understood this dynamic, and drew a large number of working-class conservative Democrats to vote for him. Richard Nixon called this large group "The Silent Majority."
In San Diego, they are not silent, and sadly, they have to promote a Democrat to mitigate the potential long-term damage of a liberal Republican who seems bent on transforming the Republican Party platform.
By the way: the Republican incumbent who lost in 2012, Brian Bilbray, was not a bad candidate, and had a record of winning back seats he had lost. Like retired Republican Congressman Doug Ose in Sacramento, Bilbray could have launched a comeback against Peters. Party bosses in San Diego seemed more intent on going with an easier win, backing a liberal candidate with an aggressive, progressive agenda.
The GOP Establishment gamble may not pay off, for them. For conservatives, DeMaio's loss will not offset he GOP victories sweeping the country, expanding the GOP majority in the House.
Next election cycle, Republican leaders need to honor the platform and respect their base and let them make the final decision as to who will represent them in Congress. A DeMaio loss can be a win in the long run after all.