Originally published on Advocate.com May 16 2012 8:34 AM ET
In a Wednesday profile, Politico examines the candidacy of Richard Tisei, an openly gay Republican vying for a Massachusetts congressional seat.
Tisei, who served as minority leader in the Massachusetts senate and made an unsuccessful bid for lieutenant governor in 2010, has been endorsed by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which supports openly LGBT political candidates on both sides of the aisle.
Realizing that winning is what ultimately matters in politics, national Republicans have embraced Tisei in his race against vulnerable Democratic Rep. John Tierney, tapping him for their elite “Young Guns” program, believing he has a chance to break through in the bluest of blue states.
If elected, he would be the first openly gay Republican elected to the House since Arizona Rep. Jim Kolbe retired, and the first Republican to come out prior to an election.
“I’m not going to go to Washington and be the gay congressman. I want to be the congressman that happens to be gay,” he said. “I’m a live and let live Republican. And my political philosophy is that the government should get off your back, out of your wallet and away from your bedroom. I’m going to work with the leadership to put the country back on track.”
Barney Frank, who leaves Congress at the end of the current term, told Politico that Tisei wouldn’t further LGBT equality as he claims. “He is committed to keeping the most anti-gay party in our history in power, that’s the current Republican Party,” Frank said. “So his votes to keep John Boehner and Eric Cantor in the leadership … far outweigh anything he could do for gay rights because of his personal orientation.”