An openly LGBT Republican running for Congress in Massachusetts said that if he wins his race, he anticipates there will be "knuckleheads" in Congress that will make his sexual orientation an issue in an interview published on Sunday.
"I’m sure that there are a few knuckleheads that will, you know, look at me based on my sexuality as opposed to what I bring to the table," Richard Tisei told The Hill. "But I’ve got to say, every single person I’ve met so far has made me feel really comfortable."
If elected, Tisei would be the first openly LGBT Republican candidate to achieve national office. Tisei opposes enforcement of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, even though many other Republicans are ramping up support for the law that prevents same sex couples from accessing federal marriage benefits. He also refused to sign Grover Norquist's no new taxes pledge, though he had previously signed the pledge when he unsuccessfully ran for lieutenant governor in 2010.
Spokesperson for Speaker of the House John Boehner, Cory Fritz, told The Hill, "While they don't agree on every issue, Richard and the Speaker respect one another."
Though Massachusetts typically leans heavily Democratic, Tisei is favored after his opponent, Rep. John Tierney's wife pleaded guilty in 2010 to charges of illegal gambling. A recent poll by Cook Political Report shows Tisei with a slight lead in the race.