If Drew Ward, a military veteran, non-profit leader, and candidate for New Orleans Council District A, is to make history as the first openly gay Republican elected to public office in the American South, it will be without the support and endorsement of the Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee. Drew, the only Republican candidate on the entire ballot, was snubbed by the Executive Committee, despite the fact that the Committee endorsed Democrats in every other race. Quoting (bold mine):

Ward said that the party’s move comes as a slap in the face. His political positions are moderate, even progressive in some cases, but, he said, he shares the core GOP beliefs of limited government and personal responsibility.

He speculated that his effective banishment from the party may have been the result of an interview he gave with New Orleans blogger Lamar White Junior in which Ward presented himself as a moderate.

The Times-Picayune lifted this particularly milquetoast quote as an example: “In local elections, in particular, party affiliations don’t matter as much, and even though I agree with many of the positions of the Democratic Party, I also believe that Republican Party’s emphasis on entrepreneurship, slim government, and frugal use of taxpayer dollars should resonate with everyone in New Orleans,” Drew said. It is hard to deny that “party affiliations don’t matter as much (in local elections),” especially considering the Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee actually endorsed Democrats in almost every other race. For a Republican hoping to win in a majority-Democratic district, it was both sensible and savvy for Drew to build a bipartisan coalition.

It’s worth reemphasizing that while Drew said he agreed with many of the positions of the Democratic Party, he stood firm as a Republican. “I am a Republican,” he subsequently said, and his platform is centered on fundamental conservative economic ideology.

But let’s be honest: The Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee didn’t “snub” Drew because he, audaciously, claimed Republicans could be progressive.

They snubbed Drew because Drew is openly gay; the LA GOP wants to build a big tent, but they can’t even pitch one.

2 thoughts

  1. I’m an officer of the OPREC and one of several openly gay members. Ward’s orientation was not discussed during the voting. His support for “progressivism”, his criticism of the party and his votes for Pres. Obama were discussed. I not sure most members knew he was gay. This organization has endorsed openly gay candidates numerous other times. Also, your title is misleading. The OPREC can endorse Democrats if there is no Republican in the race. In Mr. Ward’s race, the Democrat was not endorsed.

    1. You showed up with copies of the interview I conducted with Drew, a good portion of which concerned the Republican Party’s positions on gay rights. I’m sorry you don’t like the headline or the optics here, but it is what it is.

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