Stella Maxwell
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Republican Super PAC Runs Ad Calling Gay Candidate 'Creepy'

Jon Hoadley

The LGBTQ Victory Fund is condemning a new homophobic ad being run against Jon Hoadley, a gay candidate for Congress from Michigan.

The ad from the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican super PAC, uses out-of-context quotes from a blog Hoadley maintained while in college in 2004 and 2005 to paint him as a misogynist, pedophile, and sexual predator. Hoadley, a Democrat, is challenging incumbent Republican Fred Upton in Michigan’s Sixth Congressional District.

The ad, like materials circulated by the National Republican Congressional Committee, portrays Hoadley as a misogynist for using the term “breeders” and as a predator for calling sexual partners “victims,” implies that he was a drug user, and says he blogged about a 4-year-old wearing a thong. The commercial terms Hoadley “creepy.”

But it uses all those references in misleading fashion, according to Victory Fund, which has endorsed Hoadley. “Breeders” is not specific to women and “is a relatively light-hearted term,” a Victory Fund press release notes. Hoadley used “victims” in a poem referring to people with whom he’d had consensual relationships. He mentioned crystal meth in a post about attending an educational session on the drug’s impact on the LGBTQ+ community, and he ended the post by saying “Don’t do drugs.” And the reference to a child in a thong came from a friend of Hoadley’s and actually condemned the hypersexualization of young girls. Hoadley also has acknowledged that he used some careless and insensitive language in the blog, things he would never say today.

The Congressional Leadership Fund is the NRCC’s super PAC; super PACs are organizations that operate independently of candidates. Victory Fund has called on Upton to denounce the new ad, which he so far has not done, and The Advocate has sought comment from Upton but has not received a response yet.

“Fred Upton is running the most homophobic campaign in America and his refusal to denounce these Trumpian tactics makes his self-righteous calls for ‘civility’ look absurd,” Victory Fund President and CEO Annise Parker said in the press release. “His silence cued supporters to invest more than $500,000 in misleading attack ads that purposely perpetuate the ugliest of anti-gay stereotypes. Fred is so embedded in Trump-land that he can no longer differentiate between the typical rough and tumble of campaigning and the politics of hate he claims to deplore.

“Allies to LGBTQ people must speak out and condemn these attacks because Fred won’t stop until that happens. The LGBTQ community must invest in Jon’s race financially so we can show bigoted politicians that anti-gay attacks will backfire and fail. At a time when our politics is so vicious it becomes easy to tune out another television campaign ad. But it is essential for all marginalized communities and American democracy that we never allow attacks based on bigotry to be overlooked or normalized.”

Upton, who was first elected in 1986, has relatively low scores on LGBTQ+ issues on the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard. He is considered vulnerable in this election; Democrats have made flipping his seat a priority. Hoadley, currently a Michigan state representative, would be the state’s first out member of Congress.

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