Mitt Romney’s only openly gay spokesman, Richard Grenell, left his job with the campaign this week after backlash from social conservatives.
“My ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign,” Mr. Grenell said in a statement announcing his resignation.
This story has led to a fresh batch of questions about whether or not gays and lesbians have a place in the Republican party. Mr. Grenell may have been the only openly gay person to take a prominent role on Mr. Romney’s campaign, but there is a growing number of openly gay Republicans gaining prominence in the GOP.
Read on to acquaint yourself with ten of the top power gay Republicans.
Richard Tisei is a 49-year-old Republican real estate agent currently running for the congressional seat in Massachusetts' sixth district. His opponent is a 15 year incumbent, John Tierney, who is thought to be quite vulnerable and has been identified as the Republican Party's top target in the House.
Mr. Tisei formerly headed the Republican caucus in the Massachusetts State Senate. In 2010, he was tapped to run as lieutenant goveror alongside businessman Charlie Baker. Prior to that race, Mr. Tisei came out about his sexuality in an interview with the Boston Globe. Mr. Tisei and Mr. Baker lost to the incumbent, Deval Patrick. If he wins his congressional campaign, Mr. Tisei will be the first member of the House who came out before being elected. Last month, Ken Mehlman hosted a fundraiser for Mr. Tisei at his apartment in Chelsea.
Paul Babeu is the sheriff of Pinal County Arizona who is also running for Congress. As sheriff, Mr. Babeu has earned a reputation as a fierce opponent of illegal immigration that landed him spots campaigning alongside Mitt Romney and John McCain during their presidential bids. In February, Mr. Babeu revealed he was gay after a Mexican immigrant named Jose Orozco told the press he had a relationship with Mr. Babeu. Mr. Orozco said he was inspired to come forward because Mr. Babeu threatened him with deportation. Mr. Babeu's boyfriend drama led him to resign his position as co-chair of Mr. Romney's campaign in Arizona. However, despite the controversy, Mr. Babeu is continuing with what many now view as a longshot congressional campaign.