View to Washington: Inclusive Republicans Eye Congress

A crop of inclusive Republicans like N.Y. assemblywoman Dierdre Scozzafava are challenging formerly predictable trends about which party presents pro-LGBT candidates.

BY Kerry Eleveld

July 25 2009 12:00 AM ET

It's been a little slow in coming, but it looks like Republicans are finally getting the message that being outright homophobic is not the wave of the future.

This week in New York, the Republican county chairs of the 23rd congressional district tossed aside a handful of other candidates and tapped state assemblywoman Dierdre Scozzafava to run for the seat being vacated by Rep. John McHugh, whom President Obama has nominated as Secretary of the Army.

Scozzafava is one of four GOP assemblymembers who voted to pass New York's first marriage equality bill back in 2007 -- a vote that some deemed a potential death knell in her conservative upstate district. But conventional wisdom imploded and Scozzafava ran for reelection uncontested -- meaning no one thought she was vulnerable enough to lose.

Additionally, her pro-marriage equality Republican colleagues were also reelected (albeit, one as a Democrat).

But the GOP seemed to ignore that reality when they attempted to regain Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand's congressional seat after she was appointed to Hillary Clinton's vacant Senate seat.

Gillibrand, who has proven to be quite wily, stole the seat from Republicans in 2006 when she upended four-term incumbent Rep. John Sweeney. To regain that seat this year, the GOP settled on Assemblyman James Tedisco -- an anti-abortion, anti-marriage equality pol who wondered recently during a floor debate if New York's marriage bill would be a slippery slope to polygamy.

Tags: Politics

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