Tomorrow's (June 3) primary in the 52nd District could produce some surprises. Recently, Republicans have been playing down once-hot-button social issues (gay marriage, abortion), and some think that's giving short shrift to a significant portion of the Republican Party. Tomorrow, three Republicans (Carl DeMaio, Kirk Jorgensen, and Fred Simon) run along with incumbent Democrat Scott Peters.
DeMaio has stunned some political strategists by playing up the fact that he is gay, saying he is a "new generation" Republican. He put out an ad in which he was holding hands in a gay parade with his partner, Johnathan Hale. Jorgensen, a former Marine Corps officer, is pro-life and pro gun rights. Republican leaders such as house speaker John Boehner and majority leader Eric Cantor gave early support to DeMaio.
In backing Jorgensen, the National Organization for Marriage said DeMaio "comes from an environment where sexual morality is a thing of the past," and anybody supporting abortion, gay marriage, gun control, and medical marijuana isn't really a conservative. Jorgensen's own literature is not strident on these topics, however.
Among those backing Jorgensen are Rep. Duncan Hunter, business executives Gene Ray and Kim Fletcher, and Combat Veterans for Congress.
Earlier this year, San Diego's Caster Family Trust put $150,000 into a super PAC called "Responsible Leadership for America." The family, which owns A-1 Self-Storage, has made generous donations, such as helping poor people in Tijuana and supporting the University of San Diego's Caster Family Center for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Research. However, Terrence Caster and his family were among the biggest donors to Proposition 8, which was essentially intended to ban same-sex marriage in the state. As a result, the storage company was boycotted and gays attempted to place phone calls to Terrence Caster.
By May 14, the PAC had $175,575. The only expenditures through mid-May were $79,000 for Jorgensen.
The name "Responsible Leadership for America" sounds curious, since a PAC with a similar name, Americans for Responsible Leadership, was fined $1 million by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for spending money in the 2012 election that was laundered through two other PACs tied to the Koch brothers. But Kevin Lawrence, the assistant treasurer of the PAC helping Jorgensen, says there is no association between the two PACs. "We're a bunch of retired military guys trying to help our country," says Lawrence, who says he doesn't know who the Koch brothers are.