Barney Frank: Don’t Vote For Gay Republican Congressional Candidate Richard Tisei

Former Rep. Barney Frank has weighed in on one of 2014's tightest congressional races, that of his state Massachusetts' sixth district. 

1019_tierney-tisei-620x456It's a headline grabber — incumbent Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) versus Republican challenger Richard Tisei. While Rep. Tierney has been a staunch advocate of LGBT rights, Tisei may be poised to snatch votes from him. Rep. Tierney is staight, and Tisei is openly gay. If elected, Tisei would be the first openly gay Republican elected to Congress.

If this story sounds familiar to you, you're not wrong. Two years ago, the same two candidates were squaring off in the same district. That time around, the race wrapped up tight — Tierney's 48% to Tisei's 47. 

This year, things could shake out differently. In February, Tisei was endorsed by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, leading to a bump in his polling data.

Wednesday evening, former Rep. Frank assembled a group of LGBT donors on Capitol Hill to discuss the congressional race and voice support for the incumbent Tierney.

6a00d8341c730253ef017d3e260216970c-250wiWhile the donors acknowledge allure in the idea that a gay Republican who could shake up the party, many suggest that this is not realistic — that it's more important to reduce the influence of Republican leader and LGBT rights opponent Rep John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Former Rep. Frank expands on the core reasons to not elect Tisei:

"I do believe it is very important to support gay and lesbian candidates. But the notion that we will tell an incumbent who has been absolutely perfect on gay, lesbian, bisexual [and] transgender issues — absolutely perfect — that perfection will do no good because he has sex with the wrong person, [that] is the antithesis of what we should be fighting for."

Concise and whip-smart as ever, but that's Barney Frank for you.

Frank's sentiment is echoed by the incumbent Rep. Tierney. While he would like to have more pro-gay Republcans in Congress, Tierney points out that electing them in the current political climate would have little effect.

"[Pro-gay Republicans aren't] allowed to even vote on the matter [of LGBT rights]. They don't get an opportunity. So you need to change the majority to have the matter brought up," he said. "We have currently a Congress that is going nowhere, slowly, under John Boehner."

[h/t HuffPo]


  1. Bry says

    Jim Kolbe, Steve Gunderson, Bob Baumon and perhaps another member were openly gay Republican House members. Our reporting should be contextually accurate.

  2. Moniker says

    Would we rather vote for a gay guy whose platform party is stoning the gays or the opposite? If he really care about the gay issues, he wouldn’t associate himself with that stinking party.

  3. dem_lynn_gay says

    Fellow gay LONG time Dem living in the district. Tierney is an embarrassment to the north shore.
    He has done absolutely nothing for the district, has passed ONE bill into law in his 18 years in Congress. And sure, he’s perfect on LGBT rights (and we thank him for that), but he’s never ever ever outspoken.
    Never did he stick his neck out to LEAD on the issue (unlike Frank). I’ll be voting for Tisei this November, no question.

  4. Will says

    Exactly Moniker. Vote fort heg uy we know has helped, not a Republican just because he’s gay. Good for him. His party’s official policies and upper management still hate us.

    As orientation shouldn’t exclude us, it also shouldn’t be the basis of voting for somebody.

  5. Marshall says

    Why would any gay people, unless it’s a question of lesser of two evils, vote for a Republican? The party is pretty damn evil. They win elections and govern based on hatred of people of color, gays, workers, etc.

  6. Hawthorne says

    I live on the North Shore of MA. Tierney is my representative. When Tisei appeared on the scene a couple years ago, I thought of voting for him since he was a new voice, gay, etc. HOWEVER, I realized a vote for a Republican in the House – whether gay or straight – is a vote for the majority party in that chamber. A vote is not merely for the person and the district. You have to look at the larger picture and where that person fits into it. Tisei may be gay, but he is a Republican, and the Republican party for the past many years has been obstructive and non-compromising. The Republican party has held the US, Congress, and progress hostage for years. A vote for Tisei is a vote for more of that.

  7. james street james says

    If enough gay Republicans get into office not only will they vote anti-gay they will help reverse the progress made to date. They have a history. Don’t expect anything different from them.

    (And as for Republicans who expect an anti-Obama vote, you are living in a Republican bubble, the same bubble that left you amazed as Romney lost to Obama.)

  8. DM says

    That’d be fine, except GOP is very unlikely to lose the House in November. They have way too many seats and Obama’s too unpopular. It’s actually predicted on RealClearPolitics that they’ll gain 5-10 seats.

    So, in that sense, a vote for Tisei is not a vote “for a Republican majority.” That’ll exist anyway. You’re voting to put a gay voice in the party that will almost certainly remain in power, no matter who wins. It’s proven that people are more pro-gay when they intimately know someone who’s gay–having an ideologically-similar colleague could at least temper some views, or make more mainstream Republicans think twice. In that sense, having an openly gay Republican in the majority could make a much bigger impact nationally than one more dime-a-dozen pro-gay-but-not-outspoken Democrat in the minority.

  9. Gerry says

    Barney Frank is right on target. The GOP is a lost cause – how any gay person could associate with such a hateful group of people is beyond me. I for one don’t want to sacrifice by rights to try to reform a party whose goal has been to take our rights away and to do whatever they can to block us. Look at what is happening with the marriage equality cases… the writing is on the wall that we will eventually win, but these clowns continue to block us at every turn, causing gay couples immeasurable grief. Some will die without being able to marry the person they love… and for what? Just spite.

  10. Rixk says

    Barney Frank is a cantankerous, obnoxious, smart-mouthed New York Jew faggot….and I would not be able to stand in a room with him for 5 seconds without punching him in the mouth.

    That is all.

  11. james street james says

    Those who speak of Obama’s lack of popularity, at about forty percent or so, forget that his approval ratings are higher than Congress, higher than Republicans in general. So it might be more a case of the least unpopular, and by that measure Obama wins over Congress, and the Democrat party wins over the Republican Party.

    There’s no need to pander to the Republicans. The GOProud and Log Cabin types do that, and have nothing to show for it.

  12. JP says

    As another former Massachusetts Congressman (and Speaker) said, “All politics is local.”

    In the end, this race is not about gay rights, not about Obama or the Tea Party, but about the individuals.

    2 years ago, Tierney almost lost, despite Obama carrying the (heavily Democratic) district by a solid majority. According to friends who live in the district, and one such poster above, Tierney has been ineffective, aloof, and not the brightest bulb. Tisei, by contrast, was known as a hard worker in the Mass. legislature, able to get things done even though he was part of an often-insignificant Republican minority (for most of his time in the Senate the Republicans did not have 25% to block an override of the governor’s veto), and cultivated relationships with local politicians of both parties.

    I hope that Tisei’s willingness to forge alliances across the aisle continues, and that he doesn’t fall in lockstep with Boehner.

  13. andrew says

    Tisei will absolutely fall in line with Boehner.

    Look at his history as Charlie Baker’s running mate.

    Tierney (like Coakley against Scott Brown) may not be charismatic or popular… but he is a positive ally in a negative republican vacuum.

    Tisei will NOT move the ball forward for gay causes. In fact his presence may at best be neutral and at worst give another vote to those who wish to roll back our recent gains.

  14. Putney says

    Can Barney Frank tell us why he wants to deregulate derivatives? Can he tell us why Dodd-Frank is such an inadequate law for regulating financial markets?

  15. What? says

    Tierney is not the inevitable candidate. He has two Democratic challengers and the primary isn’t until September.

    One challenger, Marisa Defranco, is an immigration lawyer who successfully represented a gay Ugandan man seeking asylum.

    Between Defranco and that slimeball Tierney, I’d pick Defranco.

  16. ratbastard says

    Stop elevating Frank, he doesn’t deserve it. He is not a pleasant human being, and most people reading this would be disappointed by interacting with him on a personal level. Neither is he ‘brilliant’.

    Just go away,Frank. Retire already.

  17. jamal49 says

    RAT, honey, Barney Frank is retired. Or, did you miss it? And, LincolnLounger, Tisel, like you, is a butt-boy LogCabinette, who will stoop to any level to lick the boots of his Republican masters.

    Never, ever vote for any Republican, especially a gay Republican. You can be guaranteed that a gay Republican will stab gay people square in their backs while voting for every retrograde, anti-gay, anti-family, anti-middle-class, anti-union, anti-worker legislation that comes down the Republican pike.

  18. jason MacBride says

    Two oxymorons: “Gay republican” and “Barney Frank role model.”

    Both have been embarrassments for too long and need to ride off into the sunset.

  19. Enchantra says

    The courts are ruling in our favor for equality. It’s now time to vote based on other things. Democrats want to give amnesty to 11 million illegals, which translates to 50 million foreigners in this country within 25 years.

  20. wheelie81 says

    This may come as a shock to a lot of you short minded people, but there are just as many conservative gays that believe in limited government as there are liberal gays. You don’t oppose or support a party just based on one issue.

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