Richard Tisei, an openly gay Republican running for Congress in Massachusetts said that he anticipates having to deal with "knucklehead" party colleagues if he wins his race against Rep. John Tierney, a Democrat.
Tisei told The Hill that he still has encountered nothing but encouragement so far.
"I'm sure that there will be a few knuckleheads that will, you know, look at me based on my sexuality as opposed to what I bring to the table," he said in an interview with The Hill published Sunday. "But I’ve got to say, every single person I’ve met so far has made me feel really comfortable.”
If elected, Tisei would be the first gay Republican elected to Congress as a nonincumbent.
Tisei said that he's received support from Republican leadership, including House Speaker John Boehner, even though the Speaker is at the head of an effort to step in for the Obama Administration to continue defending the Defense of Marriage Act in federal cases.
Still, Tisei said that his election could help boost the Republican Party's regional and social diversity.
“A lot of members have made it a point to come up to me and tell me that they’re very supportive of me because they believe that the party needs to be more diverse, not only from the standpoint of having a gay member of the caucus, but also from a geographical standpoint."