California county GOP launches campaign to out 'liberals posing as Republicans'

In a sign that the 2010 primary season is beginning to heat up, and is likely to get ugly, a Republican candidate for the Senate has "accused" a rival Republican of being a closeted homosexual.

Andy Martin, a journalist from Illinois with a long history of controversial anti-Semitic remarks and the man credited with starting the rumor that Barack Obama is a Muslim, released an ad Monday in which he cited "rumors" that Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) is gay.

"I am fighting for the facts about Mark Kirk," Martin, who is running for Obama's old seat, says in the ad. "Illinois Republican leader Jack Roeser says there is a 'solid rumor that Kirk is a homosexual.' Roeser suggests that Kirk is part of a Republican Party homosexual club. Lake County Illinois Republican leader Ray True says Kirk has surrounded himself with homosexuals. Mark Kirk should tell Republican voters the truth."

Sam Stein at Huffington Post reports:

The seedy spot seems to take a page out the Karl Rove playbook -- in which allegations of homosexuality are pushed by innuendo and 'simple demands for the truth.' In a statement to a local Illinois station, the Kirk camp vehemently condemned and denied its content.

"The ad is not true and is demeaning to the political process. The people of Illinois deserve better," said Kirk campaign manager Eric Elk in a written statement.

Martin, it should be noted, is quite proficient in the art of political smear. He was profiled by the New York Times during the 2008 campaign as "The Man Behind the Whispers About Obama."

But Martin's history of controversial comments goes back much further than last year's presidential campaign. In 1996, his run for a Florida State Senate seat ended in failure when it emerged he had named the committee for a 1986 congressional campaign "The Anthony R. Martin-Trigona Congressional Campaign to Exterminate Jew Power in America."

And the New York Times reports that, in a 1983 bankruptcy case, Martin called the judge “a crooked, slimy Jew who has a history of lying and thieving common to members of his race.”

The object of Martin's attack ad, Mark Kirk, is considered a Republican moderate. The five-term House representative is a leading voice in Congress for sanctions against Iran, and has also strongly criticized President Barack Obama's plan to relocate Guantanamo detainees to an Illinois prison facility.


A different kind of "outing" is taking place in Placer County, California, where the chairman of the local Republican committee has launched a campaign to expose "liberals posing as Republicans," reports the Sacramento Bee.

"We need to protect our brand," the paper quotes Placer County Republican Central Committee chairman Tom Hudson. "We need to stand for something."

The Bee reports:

With the elected committee's backing, Hudson has drafted candidates to run against sitting GOP officeholders he views as not conservative enough, orchestrated a controversial endorsement during the primary for the 4th Congressional District seat, and played a role in the decision by two Placer County officeholders to drop their Republican Party membership.

But the paper notes that one effect of the anti-liberal campaign is a thinning of Republican ranks in the county:

In recent weeks, a quiet skirmish became much more visible in the county with the second-highest percentage of card-carrying Republicans in the state when two elected leaders – county Supervisor Jim Holmes and Rocklin City Councilman Peter Hill – left the party and reregistered as "decline to state."

Both men said the questioning of their party credentials contributed to their decisions.

Mike Holmes, the supervisor's brother and a member of the central committee, said that under Hudson, the committee has veered too far from its core mission of registering voters and supporting GOP candidates. He has asked Hudson to step down.