Could things be starting to change a little? Here’s an ad for a Senate candidate in Oregon, Monica Wehby, a Republican in favor of abortion rights and marriage equality:
What’s particularly interesting is that this ad is running statewide as a last-ditch attempt to get some traction against the Democratic incumbent, Jeff Merkley, having beaten a Christianist primary opponent. That suggests that one key way for Republican candidates to make an impression on independents is to carve out a more inclusive and individual liberty argument. Politico notes, of course, that
Republicans in blue states endorsing gay marriage is not totally new. Three openly gay GOP House candidates have featured their partners in campaign materials, including Richard Tisei in Massachusetts, Dan Innis in New Hampshire and Carl DeMaio in California. But no Republican Senate candidate has ever run an ad like this statewide. Even in a blue state like Oregon, where gay marriage is more widely accepted, running this ad in 2010 or 2012 may have been judged too risky because it would keep conservatives home. If Wehby won, she would join four Republican senators who support same-sex marriage: Illinois’ Mark Kirk, Ohio’s Rob Portman, Maine’s Susan Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski.
Portman is also interesting as an unlikely but conceivable potential presidential candidate in 2016. His personal evolution on marriage equality – because of his gay son – is an argument that can truly change minds, and reflect the core pro-family message of marriage equality. And yes, he just visited New Hampshire.