Political candidates seeking office frequent diners, community events, parades and even places of worship as they campaign. Such was the case when California Republican Andrew Grant went to the Muslim Community of Folsom. However, his supporters weren't having it.
“You ain’t getting my vote,” The Sacramento Bee quotes one commenter on Grant’s Facebook. “[A]nyone who befriends muslims will never get my vote.”
Grant posted a photo of himself in front of the community center with Mohammed Khader, the current president of the Muslim Community of Folsom, and Fiaz Saied, the former president. When he posted it to his Facebook page, Republican supporters came unglued.
“I want someone to represent me,” a man named Jim commented. “The white, heterosexual, conservative man seems to be forgotten. Politians [sic] seem to search out victims.”
Grant was quick to respond.
"Jim, I’m also those things and can represent the good people that I met at this event and you equally well," he wrote.
The man shot back that he had no problem with Grant placating to "Muslim and Sikh" people but that he should be handling other things instead of focusing on them. "Don't forget us [sic] veterans. I've seen you at the Hall."
Grant responded by saying that just as he's been to the veterans Hall he intends to visit the Muslim Community center.
“Am I someone who would like to convince them that I can represent the people in the photo as well as I can represent them? Of course,” said Grant, who visited the mosque and community center to attend their Eid al-Adha celebration. “It frustrates me that the immediate response was you don’t have my vote because of that photo. It was a surprise.”
He went on to say that anti-Muslim sentiment isn't a "Republican" value.
“I don’t think our party has any room for that. People ask me, why are you Republican? It’s because I trust people and the role of government," he said.
Local psychotherapist Sara Collette posted on Grant's page to be supportive. She noted she intended to vote for his Democratic opponent, but she respected his outreach to groups often ignored.
“We need more people on both sides of the aisle that are going to stand up for what’s right and not just what’s politically expedient,” Collette, told The Bee. “He didn’t apologize for meeting people that he’s running to represent. I hope Ami Bera wins because he aligns much more with how I view things, however, if he doesn’t, I am glad that at least Mr. Grant is one, wanting to meet with not just one demographic in his district, and two, calling out injustice and saying what’s wrong when it’s wrong.”
Grant faces off against Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) in November.
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