Bachmann lands on top, Pawlenty exits, Perry enters

Rick Perry

The Republican presidential campaign field took another big lurch to the right over the weekend, welcoming its newest and most dogmatic competitor, weeding out an early entry, and giving a boost to its most anti-gay voices.

Texas Governor Rick Perry announced his campaign for the Republican nomination for president Saturday (August 13), telling a gathering in South Carolina that the nation needs “civil justice reform.” Perry did not explain what he meant by “civil justice reform” and it was probably a reference to the kind of legislation he supported as governor, aimed at cutting down on the number of lawsuits. But Perry’s record on LGBT issues suggests he could just as easily have been echoing a Republican staple—an opposition to judges who rule that equal protection guarantees should apply to same-sex couples.

Meanwhile, former Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota dropped out of the Republican field on Sunday, after placing third in the Iowa Republican Party straw poll Saturday.

According to the Iowa Republican Party, 29 percent of the almost 17,000 votes cast Saturday were for U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota; 28 percent for U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas; 14 percent for Pawlenty; 10 percent for former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania; and nine percent for businessman Herman Cain.

The remaining 10 percent of votes when to candidates who did not participate officially in the straw poll. Perry received four percent of the votes via write-ins and former Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts received three percent.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich won about two percent of the vote. And the field’s most progressive candidate, former Governor Jon Huntsman of Utah, earned less than half of one percent, as did U.S. Rep. Thad McCotter of Michigan.

The Party did not indicate who received the remaining one percent of votes, and a spokesperson for openly gay candidate Fred Karger, who also chose not to participate in the straw poll, said they had not been able to determine how many write-ins Karger may have garnered.

The straw poll is not binding on Republicans who eventually attend in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses next year and is, to a large extent, a measure of each candidates coffers and willingness to pay $30 each for supporters to participate in the straw poll event. Candidates are also required to contribute $15,000 to the Iowa party in order to set up a tent for their supporters and, in order to attract and retain supporters during the voting, they typically provide food and entertainment. Bachmann’s tent, for instance, provided entertainment by country singer Randy Travis.

Bachmann appeared on numerous political talk shows Sunday, including ABC’s This Week with Christine Armanpour. Guest host Jake Tapper asked Bachmann about her now well-publicized speech as state senator in 2004 in which she said that homosexuality leads to “Personal bondage, personal despair, and personal enslavement.”

“Do you believe that?” asked Tapper.

Bachmann did not answer the question but said, instead, “Well, I’m running to be the president of the United States. I am not running to be any person’s judge. And I ascribe dignity and honor to all people no matter who they are, and that’s how I view people.”

“So, you would appoint an openly gay or lesbian person to your administration?” asked Tapper.

“I would look first of all: would they uphold the Constitution of the United States. And Number Two: are the competent to do what they need to do and are they the best at who they are. That’s my criteria. Nothing more.”

Bachmann’s positions and remarks against LGBT people have marked her, along with Santorum, as two of the most anti-gay candidates in the Republican field. Both have also signed two political pledges to oppose equal rights for same-sex couples in marriage licensing.

Perry is in roughly the same boat. He’s spoken out against same-sex marriage and, in 2005, signed into law a ban on same-sex marriage in Texas.

In the weeks leading up to announcing his bid for the White House, Perry engaged in high profile collaborations with such anti-gay organizations as the American Family Association. Equally disturbing to many was Perry’s behavior onstage –drifting seamlessly from political speech to prayer and back again.

The Houston Gay Political Caucus posted a message on its website recently, calling Perry’s partnership with AFA “an assault on the GLBT community.”

The Human Rights Campaign said Perry’s most recent collaboration—a day of prayer—included “the most virulent anti-gay leaders and organizations in the country.”

2 Responses to Bachmann lands on top, Pawlenty exits, Perry enters

  1. John Hicks says:

    Certainly the good news for GLBTs is that Ron Paul, the libertarian candidate, came in second in the poll. Indeed, he practically tied with Bachmann, 28% vs. 29%.

    Yet your story only mentions Paul once, in the third paragraph, in the single run-on sentence that reports the results for all the candidates.

    As a libertarian, Paul follows the original liberal creed of maximizing liberty for all. This applies to gay rights,immigration reform, drug legalization, opposition to imperialism, etc.

    This is big news for gays and libertarians of the left and right. I would have expected the Keen News Service to be reporting that.

  2. Denny says:

    God help us if any of these people make it to presidency, were heading back to the dark ages.

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