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Gay Republican Beats Gay Democrat in N.Y. Congressional Race

George Santos

For the first time in U.S. history, two gay men faced off against each other in a national election.


New York's third Congressional District has a new gay elected congressman, but the victory is a feather in the cap of Republicans, not Democrats.

It was the first time two openly gay congressional candidates faced off in a general election. Republican George Santos defeated Democrat Robert Zimmerman and turned the seat from blue to red.

Santos is expected to succeed Tom Suozzi, a Democrat who unsuccessfully ran for governor last year.

He will also become the first openly LGBTQ+ Republican elected to Congress and serving. This distinction comes when Republicans and right-wing conservatives have vilified LGBTQ+ communities and people nationwide.

Arizona's former Rep. Jim Kolbe and Wisconsin's former Rep. Steve Gunderson both came out or were forced to come out after they had already been elected to Republican positions.

As far as Santos is concerned, his identity and politics are not in conflict.

"As a lifelong Republican, I have never experienced discrimination in the Republican Party," he told NBC News in September. "I am an openly gay candidate. I am not shy."

Santos has voiced his support for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis's "don't say gay" law and opposes bodily autonomy for Americans to choose whether to have an abortion.

Having attended the Stop the Steal rally that preceded the Capitol Hill insurrection, Santos appeared in a video shot this year in which he voiced his support for those arrested for the violence committed that day.

"I've actually been working on funding ten of them to get out," Santos replies."I went down to D.C. Gitmo, and I wrote a nice check to a law firm to see if we could help any of them out."

"Don't want to publicize it," he added.

In the video, he asserts that it's "absolutely insane" that insurrectionists were arrested for essentially going "into [their own] house."

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