Attack and defensive ads litter the airwaves in San Diego’s hotly contested 52nd Congressional District that pits freshman Democrat incumbent Scott Peters against GOP establishment-backed, gay Republican Carl DeMaio. As both sides fight for the coveted independent and centrist voting block, DeMaio is further distancing himself from conservative voters.
In a new campaign ad, DeMaio identifies himself as an independent “challenging both parties to get off divisive social agendas.”
DeMaio leads the ad with “As a proud gay American, I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, but a Tea Party extremist? Nothing could be farther from the truth.”
Tea Party members in San Diego have been distancing themselves from DeMaio as well. “DeMaio is a member of the Republican Party. Carl DeMaio, however, does not endorse the platform of the Republican Party. Particularly the pro-life and pro-marriage planks of that platform,” reads a recent letter from not only Tea Party leaders, but also faith and pro-Republican Party platform leaders in San Diego County.
Further reinforcing distance from the Tea Party, House Speaker John Boehner is traveling to California this week, taking part in a Saturday fundraiser in support of DeMaio, Breitbart reports.
The most recent ad also shows DeMaio stating, “Orphaned as a child, I had to put myself through school.” Ads supporting Peters have attacked DeMaio over claims that DeMaio will cut education funding, including student loans.
An earlier and still-running attack ad on DeMaio plays video clips of DeMaio aligning himself with the Tea Party. In response to that ad, DeMaio campaign spokesman Dave McCulloch told Breitbart News, “It’s laughable that Scott Peters had to resort to deceptively splicing video clips completely out of context in order to call the gay, pro-choice government reformer an ‘extremist’. Scott Peters’ tactics show why Washington is broken and why Peters must go.”
Peters and DeMaio continue to fight for the coveted independent votes that make up the fastest growing voting group in California, those forsaking any party affiliation when registering to vote.
Republican Party platform advocates and Tea Party members in San Diego have cited a recent letter penned by the National Organization for Marriage and Family Research Council to Boehner and other members of GOP leadership, citing their active opposition to three candidates, including DeMaio, “This decision was reached only after having exhausted all attempts to convince the Republican leadership of the grave error it was making in advancing candidates who do not hold core Republican beliefs and, in fact, are working to actively alienate the Republican base.”
The letter continues, “We believe that Republican candidates should embrace the full spectrum of conservative principles – economic, national security and social issues – that have defined our party since President Reagan led us to a transformative victory. While we acknowledge that a national party must accommodate varying points of view on matters of prudence, we also believe a party must stand for certain core principles that it expects its candidates to defend. That, indeed, is the purpose of a party platform.”
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana