The past 10 years have proven to be tough on LGBT Republicans across the country. The GOP’s rightward tilt in the past decade led many pro-LGBT Republicans to retire from office, lose reelection contests, or back away from their previous support of the LGBT community.
The party has also seen a drop in the ranks of those out Republicans holding elective office. But in Massachusetts, LGBT Republicans have an embarrassment of riches in this year’s contest for governor.
The GOP ticket is led by Charlie Baker, a fiscal conservative who supports marriage equality, and State Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei, an openly gay candidate for lieutenant governor. Not only is the GOP ticket in Massachusetts the most LGBT-friendly the Republican Party has ever fielded, but in this liberal bastion they’ve provided the Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) with a real pick-up opportunity.
All summer the Baker-Tisei team has been lagging behind Governor Deval Patrick in the polls. Even though Patrick has suffered some fairly high unfavorable ratings, he’s been helped by the campaign of a third-party candidate, Tim Cahill, who’s been splitting the anti-incumbent vote with Baker.
But the Baker-Tisei campaign received a big boost today when they secured the endorsement of Tim Cahill’s running mate, former State Representative Paul Loscocco. Loscocco, in leaving the Cahill ticket said, “I cannot sit idly by as my friends and supporters cast their votes for my ticket, knowing that the best chance to defeat Governor Patrick is with Charlie Baker.”
In polling performed by Public Opinion Strategies for the Baker-Tisei campaign, results show the GOP ticket taking a one-point lead over Patrick. With Loscocco’s endorsement, the Baker-Tisei team hopes to see a shift of anti-incumbent voters to their campaign.
These developments mean Tisei, who is endorsed by the Victory Fund, could become the first openly gay lieutenant governor in U.S. history.
Note: Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, who is openly bisexual, is her state’s second-highest ranking elected official behind the governor. Oregon does not elect a state officer with the title of lieutenant governor.