New Issa ad calls attention to opponent's sexuality, gets pushback from Republicans

Charles T. Clark, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Political News

SAN DIEGO -- A new campaign ad from former Rep. Darrell Issa has drawn criticism from some of his Republican colleagues for highlighting the sexuality of his opponent Carl DeMaio.

The TV ad, which began airing earlier this week, runs 30 seconds and begins by decrying a recent attack ad from DeMaio.

Then Issa's ad spends much of its run time accusing the former San Diego City Councilman of supporting citizenship for "illegal aliens" while showing an image of three scowling tattooed men, presumed gang members, from El Salvador.

The ad also highlighted negative comments DeMaio has made about President Donald Trump in news articles that featured headlines emphasizing that DeMaio is gay.

For example one of the headlines in the ad comes from a 2018 article by the Los Angeles Blade, an LGBTQ news source, and states "Carl DeMaio: California's gay GOP kingmaker." Another comes from a 2013 article by The Hill, a D.C.-based publication, and states "Gay GOP Candidate: Party Must Change."

Both men are running in the 50th Congressional District race.


Some have called the ad an example of bigotry.

Issa defended the ad while addressing reporters at an event Thursday in San Ysidro, where he was receiving an endorsement from the National Border Patrol Council, the national union for Border Patrol agents.

"You're talking about some headlines from actual newspapers," Issa said. "I certainly think you should talk to The Hill and the Blade and ask them why they use those words."

He added that the headlines are from stories that document DeMaio's "real failures" and indicated his campaign will continue to reference the articles.


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