The Boston Globe announced their endorsement of gay Republican congressional candidate Richard Tisei this morning. The paper cites incumbent Congressman John Tierney's evasiveness surrounding a financial scandal involving several close family members as the reason why they're endorsing Tisei.
National Stonewall Democrats has endorsed Tierney. Log Cabin Republicans and the Victory Fund both endorsed Tisei.
Had US Representative John Tierney not been weakened by a controversy that grew out of his brother-in-law's illegal offshore gambling operation, voters in the Sixth District might well have returned him to Congress term after term without feeling much dissatisfaction... Tierney's family scandal -- and his evasive handling of it -- gives voters a reason to look elsewhere. Meanwhile, he has an appealing Republican challenger, a moderate who served with distinction as minority leader in the state Senate. This year, Sixth District voters should elect that challenger, Richard Tisei.
There's longstanding evidence of Tisei's willingness to defy his party and even public sentiment at key points; he voted against rolling back the state income tax from 5.3 percent to 5 percent because he didn't think the state could afford to do so. He argues that, because he would be the only openly gay Republican to be elected to Congress, he would have a national profile of sorts. He would, and he should use it to press for tolerance and moderation among his fellow Republicans.
If Tisei replaces Tierney, the GOP challenger will have much to prove -- that he can be effective in protecting vital federal research dollars from cuts, that he can be a force for education reform, and above all that he can function effectively in a Republican House caucus that's pushing ever more to the right. But voters should give him the chance.
Tierney is a staunch pro-LGBT ally, but Tisei is actually gay. While I think that we need to grow the number of openly LGBT elected officials, it makes me squirmy to know that Tisei would vote to make sure a homophobe is Speaker of the House - whether that's John Boehner or any of the other GOP leaders. In that aspect, Tisei's election would actually hurt the community.
What do you think? Would a successful Tisei campaign hurt us more than it would help? Or is there a silver lining that would make it all worthwhile?