Fong Defeats Issa

Crossover Vote in GOP Primary As High As 21%

June 3, 1998 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Tumblr

(WASHINGTON, DC) – After holding a steady lead and outspending his opponents by overwhelming margins, Darrell Issa was defeated in yesterday's Republican primary for U.S. Senate only days after resorting to gay-bashing in his campaign. The defeat was the latest disaster for far right activists James Dobson and Gary Bauer and their Campaign for Working Families PAC.

Issa, who was endorsed by CWF PAC, attacked his opponent, State Treasurer Matt Fong (R), last week for receiving the endorsement of Log Cabin Republicans of California, a gay Republican state organization. As a result, Log Cabin mobilized gay and lesbian voters statewide to cast their ballots for Fong in the Republican primary to send a message that gay-bashing will lose at the polls. Fong stood by the Log Cabin endorsement, which headlined a Log Cabin campaign ad in the gay and lesbian press.

Fong defeated Issa 45% to 40% in late election results. KCRA-TV (NBC) in Sacramento reported that 21% of the total votes cast in the GOP Senate primary were from non-Republicans, crossing over to vote in the state's first open primary. Election results show that Fong handily won in Los Angeles and San Francisco, which have the highest concentration of gay and lesbian voters in the state. A statewide analysis of the county-by-county results showed that high-density gay areas made up half of Fong's total margin of victory in the Republican primary.

The Issa defeat was the latest in a series of Republican primary defeats for Dobson and Bauer, who have poured millions of dollars into the campaigns of far-right candidates, challenging mainstream and inclusive Republican candidates in primary elections across the country.

"Matt Fong was the candidate of integrity and inclusion, and Darrell Issa proved that gay-bashing loses at the polls," said Richard Tafel, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans. "Unless the Republican leadership wants to write off California in future national campaigns, they had better wake up and listen to the voters."

"This victory is yet another vindication for Log Cabin, and proves that a party of inclusion wins while a party of exclusion will lose," Tafel said. "Now we have the best chance of beating Barbara Boxer in November with Matt Fong as our nominee."