Carl DeMaio is a moderate Republican running for Congress in Southern California who is openly gay. On Wednesday, he released a new Web ad that includes footage of him and his same-sex partner, an apparent first in the realm of congressional campaigns.
Toward the end of an 88-second introductory ad that pitches him as a fresh face with a commitment to fiscal issues, DeMaio is seen holding hands with his partner and waving a rainbow flag.
"He believes in equality and diversity and is a defender of our personal freedoms," says the narrator of the video.
In an interview with Post Politics, DeMaio said the point of the ad is to introduce him as a person and a candidate — one who has tackled big fiscal issues.
Many straight candidates feature "their spouses, their children, their household pets," he told Post Politics, adding that he doesn't see his ad being any different.
"I don't see it as such a big deal," said DeMaio.
The Wall Street Journal first reported on the ad.
DeMaio is a top Republican recruit challenging Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents facing reelection. A former San Diego city councilman, DeMaio ran for mayor in 2012, losing a close race to Democrat Bob Filner.
DeMaio said he would rather talk about fiscal matters — his ad mentions his tackling of pension reform — than social issues. He wants his party to follow suit.
"I think by explicitly saying the party needs to get off the divisive social issues ... I am challenging my own party to reform itself," he said.