George W. Bush Elected President
(WASHINGTON, DC) – Governor George W. Bush of Texas was certified the 43rd President of the United States by Florida officials yesterday in one of the closest elections in U.S. history, and gay voters helped elect him by clear margins.
"We believe the American people elected the better man to lead our nation," said Rich Tafel, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans. "We applaud President-elect Bush for becoming the first Republican President to actively reach out to gay and lesbian Americans and to seek their votes, and we look forward to working with his administration."
"Now that the results have been certified, we urge Vice President Gore to reconsider contesting the outcome, and to join in unifying the nation so important transition work, which will be crucial for the future direction of the next administration, can proceed," Tafel said.
"In an election this close, every group on the winning side will claim credit for the victory," Tafel said. "But real credit will go to those groups not associated with a candidate's base vote, but those more closely aligned with swing voters in the center or the opponent's base, who deliver for the winner. So it is fair to say that over one million gay and lesbian voters carried President-elect Bush to victory."
"The 2000 election will be remembered as the first in history where the top three candidates for President actively sought the support of gays and lesbians, and our votes made the difference in electing a Republican President," Tafel said. "It was a positive step forward for our community, and we can be proud of the hard work which got us here."
Log Cabin Republicans spent nearly $500,000 on get-out-the-vote radio and print advertising in battleground states. A poll of gay voters taken by the Washington Blade newspaper before the Log Cabin Republicans ad campaign showed Bush winning 2% of the gay vote nationally. An exit poll by Voter News Service on Election Day showed that gay support for Bush had jumped to 25%, resulting in over one million gay votes for the Republican President-elect. The Blade reported on November 10 that Bush captured 59,592 gay votes in the decisive state of Florida, where Log Cabin Republicans spent heavily in its radio and print campaign launched on October 2, including a $30,000 "Thelma & Louise" Log Cabin Republicans radio ad buy in major Florida markets on the weekend of November 4-6 alone.
However, Tafel pointed out that Log Cabin Republicans was the only gay organization in the country which built ties to the Republican nominee's campaign, while gay Democratic organizations outspent Log Cabin Republicans by a ratio of 20-1 in a campaign to demonize Bush, running mate Dick Cheney, Cheney's family, and the Republican Party generally.
"The $10 million demonization campaign by the gay Democrats against the winning candidate puts our entire community at an automatic disadvantage going in to the new administration," Tafel said. "It will be an even greater challenge ahead for us as a result."
The election of an inclusive Republican President successfully concludes Log Cabin Republicans' Strategy 2000 campaign, conceived at the 1998 Log Cabin Republicans National Convention in Dallas, Texas and launched in January 1999. It marked an unprecedented and successful national effort to promote gay inclusion throughout the GOP presidential campaign, resulting in a number of historic firsts: the marginalization of far right candidates throughout the GOP presidential primaries; front-burner debate on gay issues throughout the GOP primaries and general election campaign; public outreach to gay and lesbian Republicans by the top GOP contenders (Senator John McCain, Elizabeth Dole and Bush); first-ever press conference on gay issues by a GOP presidential nominee; removal of anti-gay planks from the 2000 GOP platform draft; first-ever open floor debate on gay issues by the GOP Platform Committee brought by pro-inclusion delegates and supported by Committee Chairman Governor Tommy Thompson (R-WI) and the GOP nominee; an inclusive Republican National Convention featuring an openly gay speaker in prime time; first vice-presidential nominee in history with an openly gay child, who campaigned for the ticket; and repeated public pledges by the GOP nominee welcoming qualified openly gay and lesbian Americans to join his administration.