Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

Gay LA GOP Assembly candidate stumps in SF

Brad Torgan, chair of the gay Log Cabin Republican’s Los Angeles chapter, stumped in San Francisco last night (Wednesday, April 25) as he drums up financial support for his state Assembly bid.

The West Hollywood resident is the only GOP candidate in the race for the newly carved out 50th Assembly District northwest of Los Angeles County. Along with the gay enclave of WeHo, the seat also covers the coastal city of Santa Monica.

Three Democrats are in the race: lesbian LGBT activist Torie Osborn, Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom, and Assemblywoman Betsy Butler (D-Marina Del Rey). A slice of Butler’s current 53rd Assembly District falls within the boundaries of the gay-centric AD 50, and she relocated in order to seek the seat.

Osborn has long been viewed as Butler’s main challenger, and most expect the women will survive the June primary and spend the summer and early fall dueling over the seat. Some polling has had Torgan, though, as landing in second place in the primary, buoying his hopes of defeating two of his Democratic opponents.

But he had been banking on a contested presidential GOP primary to help draw out Republican voters to the polls. That strategy has now been dashed, as former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is all but guaranteed to be the party’s nominee following the departures of his main rivals in the race.

“It certainly doesn’t help,” admitted Torgan in an interview with the Bay Area Reporter last night prior to his local fundraiser and appearance at the Log Cabin San Francisco chapter’s monthly meeting. “It now means I have to step up the get-out-the-vote efforts myself.”

He may still see a boost in Republican turnout at the polls in June due to two minor GOP presidential candidates who remain in the race. Congressman Ron Paul’s supporters are still campaigning in the Golden State, and gay Long Beach resident Fred Karger just released an online ad featuring muscled frisbee players in an effort to drum up attention for his candidacy.

Nonetheless, Torgan said, “I would have preferred a competitive primary.”

He said one of the Assembly campaigns is doing polling on the race this week, though it is unclear if the results will differ from the earlier polls as many voters have yet to focus on the campaign.

“People are starting to get interested in the race. We are still six weeks out,” he said. “Things are beginning to heat up.”

In the meantime, Torgan has been busy dialing for donations and taking part in community forums with the other candidates. He has Log Cabin’s endorsement and ConservAmerica, a conservative environmental group.

“I have the pink elephants and the green elephants,” joked Torgan.

He plans to use most of the money he raises on slate cards to voters.

“I’ve got enough for my game plan,” said Torgan, who has yet to file a campaign finance report with state elections officials.

— Matthew S. Bajko, April 26, 2012 @ 3:42 pm PST
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