Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Racial Justice | Voter Guide

Carl DeMaio GOP Ad Featuring Same-Sex Partner Might Be Political First

Carl DeMaio: A New Generation Republican

An online ad released by Carl DeMaio's Congressional campaign that shows DeMaio holding hands with his partner Johnathan Hale.

A few seconds of a campaign video posted on YouTube turned the national spotlight Thursday on San Diego congressional candidate Carl DeMaio.

According to Republican Party officials and a political advertising expert, the 88-second video is the first they can remember of a candidate from either party that includes a same-sex partner, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The clip shows the former city councilman and onetime mayoral candidate holding hands with Johnathan Hale during a San Diego Pride Parade in 2012.

DeMaio is openly gay and has not hid his relationship with Hale, who publishes San Diego Gay & Lesbian News.

Photo by Nicholas McVicker

Carl DeMaio attends an election night party for Kevin Faulconer, Feb. 11, 2014.

The clip -- which could be included in a future television commercial -- is followed by a couple seconds of DeMaio holding up a rainbow flag.

He's running as a GOP candidate to unseat Democratic Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego. Peters defeated incumbent Republican Brian Bilbray in a close election in 2012 and the seat is considered vulnerable this year.

The ad is titled, "Carl DeMaio: New Generation Republican." The tone of the video includes lines such as "the possibilities of a better day" and "a new approach for a new time." The female narrator describes DeMaio as a "problem solver who isn't afraid to be different."

Over the clips with Hale and the rainbow flag, she says DeMaio "believes in equality and diversity, and is a defender of our personal freedoms."

In a statement, Peters said he applauds DeMaio "for being public about his committed relationship with Jonathan."

"No one should be discriminated against for who they are or who they love, something I, alongside my close friends in the LGBT community, have worked hard to help achieve for more than a decade," Peters said. "I pledge to continue this fight in every way that I can until everyone feels safe taking this step."

DeMaio is one of three openly gay Republicans running for Congress. The others are in Vermont and Massachusetts.


San Diego News Matters podcast branding

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Curious San Diego banner

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.