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GOP activist says “Don’t vote straight”

Local GOP activist Dave Wilson is sending an automated telephone message to Republican voters urging them not to vote a straight ticket because a down-ballot GOP candidate is (shudder) gay.

The target of Wilson’s attack is Alex Wathen, a Republican candidate for justice of the peace, who is president of the Houston chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans — the party’s leading gay and lesbian advocacy group.

“I’m asking you to vote principles over party politics,” Wilson said in his message to Republican voters in JP Precinct 1.

I really never cease to be amazed at how venal and smallminded the local GOP leaders can be. And it just gets better:

Wilson’s campaign surprised Harris County GOP Chairman Jared Woodfill, who wasn’t happy about the effort to split the party’s ticket.

Woodfill said he worries that without straight Republican voting, the party could lose its local dominance because voters often don’t vote in down-ballot races unless they cast a straight ticket.

Republicans now hold all countywide elected offices.

“Why would Dave do this?” Woodfill said. “I mean, I agree with him on the homosexual issue, and the party position on that is clear.”

“But it is wrong for Republicans to send the message not to vote straight ticket,” he said. “The straight ticket helps all of our judicial races in Harris County.”

So, to summarize Jared Woodfill’s position, the state GOP doesn’t like homos, but they do like their votes. I find Dave Wilson’s position to be the more honest of the two.

There’s been a war brewing in the state GOP for some time now to enforce ideological purity, which can only be good for the rest of us. With all due respect to Alex Wathen, who’s running in a precint that’s got a substantial homosexual population and is thus a viable candidate, I hope Dave Wilson is successful in his crusade. The Democratic Party will thank you later.

At least Alex Wathen has kept his sense of humor throughout this ordeal:

Log Cabin Republicans have had a series of battles with others in their party in Texas. Besides adopting its anti-gay platform, the party has denied the Log Cabin Republicans booths at recent Texas GOP conventions.

Wathen said he has “not been bothered too much” by such party positions.

“I believe that most Republicans don’t worry about those things,” Wathen said. “After all, the platform also says the United States should get out of the United Nations.”

Yes, we all know of the high regard for the United Nations that is prevalent among the Republican Party rank and file.

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  1. Woodfill wasn’t saying that “the state GOP doesn’t like homos, but they do like their votes,” he was saying that he doesn’t like Republican activists encouraging other Republicans to split their ticket over a single issue and a single candidate.

    Moreover, it should be noted that the Log Cabin Republicans of Houston rarely endorse Republican candidates. In the past two mayoral elections, they have supported Democrats. Thus even excluding the issue of homosexuality entirely, I can see how Wathen would upset GOP activists.

    And on a closing note, when I see the Democratic Party accepting pro-life candidates as much as the GOP accepts pro-choice candidates, then I’ll believe that it is tolerant.

  2. What these bozos don’t realize is that gays are a natural base for Republicans. Well-off, largely white male, pocketbook voters — perfect! I could see Dick Armey or Phil Gramm embrace one of these guys in public, but Tom DeLay? I think he’d sooner contract AIDS than be seen in public with a queer.

  3. Here’s the official Texas Republican Party platform statement, which Dave Wilson quotes from and which Jared Woodfill agrees with, regarding homosexuality:

    “Homosexuality – The Party believes that the practice of sodomy tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.” We are opposed to any granting of special legal entitlements, recognition, or privileges including, but not limited to, marriage between persons of the same sex, custody of children by homosexuals, homosexual partner insurance or retirement benefits. We oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values.”

    Sure looks to me like Woodfill and Wilson don’t like homosexuals, what with them tearing at the fabric of society and all that.

    And if you can’t see any difference between being homosexual and being pro-choice, I can’t help you.

  4. R. Alex says:


    You’re misinterpreting Woodfill’s line with the “We don’t want gays but do want their votes”

    Wilson is trying to get the religious faction of the party to vote straight ticket, which includes Wathen. He is, indirectly, saying “I don’t like gays either, but go ahead and vote for this one (by voting straight ticket) because it will help our cause.”

    In Harris County GOP terms, that’s progress…


  5. Charles,

    Actually, the platform condemns homosexual behavior, not homosexuals. And if you can’t see the difference there, I can’t help you.

  6. Alex,

    I’ll grant that yours is a valid interpretation of Jared Woodfill’s statement. It still strikes me as hypocritical.

    Owen, if I were to say “I don’t condemn Republicans, I just condemn Republican behavior”, what would you make of that? I understand the concept behind “love the sinner, hate the sin”. I strongly disagree with the claim that homosexual behavior is a sin, and I do condemn Dave Wilson and people like him, including those who construct and defend that plank of the state GOP platform.

  7. Charles,

    Well, it depends on what you mean by Republican behavior. I know people who hate the typical Republican lifestyle – living in the suburbs, driving SUVs, etc. – but wouldn’t translate that into a dislike of individual Republicans. You can certainly disapprove of a behavior or set of behaviors without inherently disliking all individuals who practice them.

    As for myself, I agree with all of the GOP platform with regards to homosexuality excluding sodomy laws, and I do believe that homosexuality is a sin. People are welcome to disagree with me on that, but it is a valid position accepted by many – if not most – people. I would never hate a person automatically for being gay, however.

  8. Dawn says:

    Owen, you said: “As for myself, I agree with all of the GOP platform with regards to homosexuality excluding sodomy laws, and I do believe that homosexuality is a sin.”

    Abandoning this law would basically open the door for other pro-homosexual laws, so I see no harm in keeping it. And that’s just my very humble opinion.

  9. Jenny says:

    Hey, remmeber that thing about seperationg of church and state? Ok, so i don’t agree with homosexuality, but i can’t choose one life for everyone, and that’s the basis of our nation: life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, however you happen to be happy.