In a surprising twist to an already unusual California
congressional race, the Democratic challenger to incumbent
Republican Congressman David Dreier has told RAW
STORY that she is a lesbian, and has made
a series of conditional statements rebuking Dreier’s
position on gay issues while concurrently questioning
the payment arrangements with his chief of staff Brad
Her statement makes this the first known time in
history an openly gay candidate has run against another
candidate also believed to be gay. The L.A. Times,
presented with this information, has said they are
not planning a story.
Democrat Cynthia Matthews, who has not kept her sexuality
secret from the press, said Saturday that she was
proud of her relationship with her same-sex partner.
“I have been in an eleven year relationship
with my partner,” Matthews said, “and
refuse to run for office if I would be required to
relegate my partner to the closet.”
While not rendering judgment on the veracity of the
against Dreier – that he has led
a closeted 24-year tenure in Congress while concurrently
voting against gay civil rights, and that he lived
with his chief of staff whom he pays an unusually
high salary – Matthews condemned Dreier’s
positions on gay issues.
If the allegations are true, she added, Dreier should
“If David Dreier is gay, it is absolutely shameful
to me that he would amass a 24-year voting record
against his own community,” Matthews said. “I
am saddened that David Dreier has voted against funding
housing for people with AIDS and that he has denied
AIDS medications to impoverished Americans -- those
who are most in need of these life-saving drugs.”
Matthews said she was alarmed by a
report first published by RAW
STORY that Dreier has paid his chief of
staff – with whom he is alleged to have had
a gay relationship – much more than others in
During the last reporting period, Smith made $156,600,
just $400 shy of the highest paid White House staff
member, Assistant to the President Karl Rove, who
made $157,000. It is also $400 less than President
George W. Bush’s chief of staff, Andrew Card,
who receives an annual salary of $157,000.
Smith also makes more than the chief of staffs to
House congressman chairing the Appropriations Committee,
the Judiciary Committee and the Ways and Means Committee.
“I am especially concerned about the allegations
regarding Congressman Dreier’s decision to pay
his chief of staff at a rate higher than those with
similar positions and experience,” she said.
Dreier's former challenger, Democrat Janice Nelson,
has said that she
was aware Dreier was living with his chief
of staff, but chose not to make an issue of it during
her 2000 campaign.
Further, Matthews asserted that by voting against
rights for gays and lesbians, Dreier has enabled closeted
gays in government positions to shield their relationships
from the same kind of scrutiny given straight couples.
Matthews suggested this contributed to situations
where gays were allowed to compensate their partners
at the taxpayer’s expense.
“By voting against equality for lesbian and
gay people,” she said, “David Dreier contributes
to a culture that allows closeted gays and lesbians
to pay those with whom they have personal relationships
from the government payroll.”
“An example of this,” she continued,
“was recently seen in New Jersey when it was
uncovered that Governor James McGreevey had hired
a man with whom he had had a sexual relationship for
a position that he was not qualified.”
Dreier’s office could not be reached for comment
on Matthew’s statements. To date, the congressman
has said nothing to confirm or deny the allegations,
and has hung up reporters and constituents seeking
Congressman Dreier was the focus of a Sept. 23 LA
Weekly article titled “The
Outing,” which lambasted his seeming
hypocrisy by voting against gay civil rights while
leading a gay life himself. Dreier was first outed
by activist blogger Mike Rogers, on his website blogACTIVE.com.
Before she elected to run for Congress, Matthews
worked as a union engineer. She is currently pursuing
an MBA with an international emphasis.