A Republican Louisiana lawmaker criticized the prospect of Family Research Council head Tony Perkins being one of his opponents in an upcoming congressional primary, reportedly comparing Perkins to former Ku Klux Klan member David Duke.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported on Wednesday that state Sen. Dan Claitor (R) confirmed he will run to represent the state's 6th District in 2014.
But while confirming his candidacy, Claitor also told the Times-Picayune that he was "not excited" by the prospect of other party members on the ballot "having questionable associations with certain hate groups," then allegedly compared Perkins to Duke, a former Grand Wizard in the Klan who made headlines in 1991 for his failed gubernatorial campaign. He later served as a state lawmaker, and in 2011 mounted an unsuccessful attempt to gain support for a presidential bid.
The Times-Picayune reported on Nov. 29 that Perkins has not decided to enter the campaign, but was approached by "business and political leaders" and asked to consider doing so. Perkins reportedly met with a group of 35 pastors to discuss the matter.
However, the Christian Post reported on Friday that Perkins issued a statement criticizing House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for calling on party members to support gay candidates for office, saying it distracted the party from mobilizing against the Affordable Care Act.
"What's the purpose of the Republican platform if the party isn't looking for candidates who uphold it?" Perkins' statement read. "The GOP's latest sideshow comes at the expense of the party's greatest opportunity: capitalizing on America's disgust for Obamacare."
"The GOP will throw its support behind any candidate they believe can win, even if it means throwing the party's stated principles overboard," Perkins' statement read. He also added, ""You can't build a bigger tent if someone is sawing down one of the poles."
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which has designated Perkins' organization as a hate group for its stance against LGBT rights, noted Claitor's apparent jibe at him, saying on Friday, "It's encouraging that Perkins' record of extremism is drawing scrutiny even before he enters the race. He's going to find, if he hasn't already, that attacking gays is no longer a form of career advancement."
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