The midterm sweep that propelled Republicans into the Senate majority and yielded gains in House and gubernatorial races across the country failed to make history in one key respect: The GOP could not elect its first-ever openly gay member of Congress.
Carl DeMaio conceded his race to Representative Scott Peters in California on Sunday night, determining that there were not enough uncounted ballots for him to make up a gap of nearly 5,000 votes. With Richard Tisei's loss in a Massachusetts district north of Boston, both gay GOP candidates fell short in their bids for the House. (A third gay Republican congressional hopeful, Dan Innis, lost in a New Hampshire primary in September.)
DeMaio's narrow defeat was particularly stinging for the Log Cabin Republicans, whose executive director, Gregory Angelo, spent the last week of the campaign volunteering for the former San Diego city councilman and mayoral candidate. Allegations of sexual misconduct against DeMaio by two former staffers dominated headlines in the closing days of what Angelo called "the dirtiest, filthiest type of campaign that I have ever witnessed."
"I do wonder how significant those 11th hour smears were," Angelo said in a phone interview on Monday, referring to the claims that DeMaio exposed himself to multiple staffers in separate incidents. "Allegations such as these certainly do play into stereotypes that people have of gay individuals."