Chicago residents have stepped forward to accuse city council candidate Molly Phelan of turning to gay-baiting attacks on her rival in tomorrow’s runoff election to represent the 46th Ward, according to a report in the Windy City Times. Her opponent, James Cappleman, is openly gay and endorsed by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.
Daniel Layman, a writer who lives in the ward, said he was contacted by a pollster who was engaged in push-polling, a political campaign technique in which an individual or organization attempts to influence or alter the view of respondents under the guise of conducting an impartial poll. “Knowing that [ Cappleman's ] only crime agenda is to plant flowers and hang out on Halsted Street, would you vote for him or [ Phelan ],” the pollster asked Layman.
Phelan herself has repeatedly referred to Cappleman’s crime reduction plan as made up mostly of “anger management classes and flowers.”
“If you want to want to lead a ward with a significant gay population, you’d best stay away from saying things like referring to candidates as weak and portraying them as not interested in anything but decorative objects and planting flowers,” said Layman.
“I think this is blatant homophobia playing up on peoples’ fears that maybe a gay man isn’t going to be tough on the crime issue in the 46th Ward,” said Lauren Peters, Cappleman’s campaign manager.