Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 13, 2016

GOP Tests Gay Candidate as ‘New Generation Republican’ in Poll #CA52

Peters is vulnerable in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new GOP poll tested former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, an openly gay Republican and potential congressional candidate, as a “new generation Republican” in the highly competitive 52nd District.

DeMaio, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor last year, posted solid favorable ratings. He led freshman Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., in a hypothetical general-election matchup.

The poll informed likely voters that DeMaio is openly gay and he would prefer that the GOP focus on fixing the federal government’s finances rather than on social issues. According to the polling memo, the results of pitching that kind of a profile in this moderate district were encouraging across the political spectrum.

“The data from this survey shows that DeMaio could be very successful in a congressional race portraying himself as a ‘new generation Republican,’” Tarrance Group pollster Dave Sackett wrote.

The survey memo, obtained by CQ Roll Call, was paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee.

National Republicans view DeMaio, who has yet to announce his candidacy, as a top potential recruit to take on Peters. The freshman Democrat ousted GOP Rep. Brian Bilbray in November in one of the closest and most expensive races in the country.

(Read more about DeMaio here in Roll Call)

In the poll of 404 likely voters in the district, 51 percent said they had a favorable impression of DeMaio, and 28 percent viewed him unfavorably. Just 21 percent said they had no opinion or had never heard of DeMaio.

In a matchup with Peters, DeMaio led 49 percent to 39 percent. The poll was taken April 22-24 and had a 4.9-point margin of error.

Peters was named to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Frontline program after winning with 51 percent last year. He turned in a strong first-quarter fundraising report, raising $258,000 in the first three months of the year and ending March with $220,000 in the bank.

(Read about the other 25 Democrats who made the DCCC’s Frontline program for vulnerable incumbents in Roll Call.)

President Barack Obama won the district by 6 points in 2012.

  • Mark Duwe

    I think all Republican candidates should be required to be gay from now on.

  • DogbiteWilliams

    DeMaio could sinko.

  • Tom Davis

    Queers is one reason I left the GOP. There is no hope when you compromise with character. Abe Lincoln is rolling over in his grave as is Ronald Reagan.

  • Mark Duwe

    You are aware of ? Over a million gay registered republicans, and their name is based on their theory that good old honest Abe was really gay because he had written about sharing a bed with another man for a couple of years when he was a practising attorney. You can visit their website, to see for yourself, but don’t do it until someone is around to clean up the mess when your head explodes.

  • Mark Duwe

    Sorry,’s a working link:

  • Joshua Sands

    …………sir, you are an idoit!

  • Richard Rider

    Carl DeMaio is openly gay, but his issues are almost exclusively fiscal matters. No one works harder or knows the issues better than DeMaio.

    He excels at controlling government spending and fighting higher taxes, which he did with great success as a full-time San Diego City Councilman. He would have won the city’s mayoral race except it was November 2012. The “Obama effect” won the race for uber-Democrat Bob Filner — who was funded with MILLIONS of dollars from panicky public employee labor unions.

    What is interesting his how Carl drew initially distrustful social conservatives to his candidacy. His record, principles, reforms and priorities are something ANY Republican can get behind.

    Frankly I think Carl can do more good on the local and state level, but seldom will one find a better GOP candidate for Congress than Carl DeMaio.

  • Richard Rider

    Reagan was FAR more tolerant of gays than intolerant scum like you, Tom. Not surprising you know nothing of this.

    Even many in the activist gay community have concluded that Reagan was NOT the devil incarnate that Dems tried to convince gays was their enemy. Here’s one article from the gay community, reassessing their knee-jerk animosity towards Reagan.

  • Mark Duwe

    If Reagan was alive today he’d be considered a moderate democrat on most issues, though they would still call him out for slashing taxes for the rich and selling arms to his friends in Iran, under the table, during an arm embargo, to fund a war that congress had no say-so in.

  • Brian Brady

    “His record, principles, reforms and priorities are something ANY Republican can get behind”

    Mr Rider is absolutely correct. DeMaio understands two things: (a) the proper role of government and (b) how to make government work better at the things its is supposed to do.

    His name recognition is off the charts, he can raise money, and he’ll campaign harder than Peters ever did.

  • Richard Rider

    DeMaio lost his 2012 San Diego mayoral race (San Diego is a Democrat city, contrary to widely held perceptions). But his mayoral race vote total WITHIN the Peter’s Congressional district is illuminating. DeMaio beat Filner(D) by 16% — 58% to 42%.

  • Wily Pagan

    You are an irascible old coot who needs help with grammar. Ronald Reagan had a lesbian couple care for his kids, so doubt he would jump on your hate train.

  • Bill

    Oh, I thought they all already were. :)

  • Bill

    Please get informed. Reagan had a slew of gay friends and donors. There was a proposition back when Reagan was governor to fire gay teachers, and Reagan correctly came out strongly against it and it was duly defeated.

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