Backers of out gay congressional candidate Richard Tisei will host a fundraiser for the Massachusetts Republican at a private reception near Washington Circle in Foggy Bottom tonight.
Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown will join Tisei at the event, which will be hosted at the home of Michael Wascom, managing director of international and government affairs for American Airlines.
Tisei, who has served in the Massachusetts State Legislature for 26 years and has garnered the coveted enorsement of the Victory Fund, is hoping to unseat Democrat Rep. John Tierney. Tierney has held his 6th District seat in Congress since 1997.
If elected, Tisei would become the first out gay Republican freshman elected to Congress in American history and the first Massachusetts Republican elected to the House in 15 years.
Tisei is a moderate Republican who supports marriage equality and is pro-choice, but supports conservative fiscal policies. Although running in a heavily Democratic state, his moderate social views and record of working across party lines have propelled his campaign against Tierney, who has faced scrutiny for the October 2010 conviction of his wife for tax fraud.
Although Brown supports Tisei and voted for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," he still believes marriage should remain between a man and woman only and that marriage equality be left to states to decide. Brown himself is facing a high-profile race against Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren, who hopes to reclaim Brown's seat in Congress, once occupied by Ted Kennedy, for the Democrats. Warren supports marriage equality.
Executive Director of Log Cabin Republicans R. Clarke Cooper will attend the fundraiser as will former Arizona Republican Rep. Jim Kolbe, who, in 1996, became the second out Republican to serve in Congress. Tim Day, an out African-American Republican who has twice run for the D.C. Council, and out chairman of the D.C. GOP, Bob Kabel, will also attend, according to an event email from LCR.
Although Tisei has been endorsed by the Victory Fund, which works to elect qualified LGBT public officials through increased strategic, technical and financial support, he did not garner the endorsement of one of the gay-rights movement's most central figures: Rep. Barney Frank.
The Massachusetts Democrat put his support behind Tierney instead, stating that Tisei's election would do nothing more than secure a Republican majority in the House of Representatives and thus block gay-rights legislation.
Nevertheless, Victory Fund has defended their endorsement, stating that Tisei's election would further efforts to add gay perspectives to the Republican Party.
The fundraiser tonight is one of two pro-gay Republican fundraisers being held this week.
On Thursday, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and journalist David Frum will host a cocktail reception at his home in Wesley Heights in support of marriage equality in Maryland. The fundraiser will benefit Marylanders for Marriage Equality, as well as Maryland for All Families, a group of conservatives and libertarians who support Maryland's same-sex marriage law.
[Photo: Richard Tisei (L) and Scott Brown.]