Upton’s campaign using Trumpian tactics to spread lies about Hoadley;
Upton claims of “civility” defy his campaign tactics and voting record
Washington, DC – Today LGBTQ Victory Fund, the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office, called U.S. Representative Fred Upton’s campaign for reelection the “most homophobic campaign” against an LGBTQ candidate anywhere in the nation and condemned his efforts to use horrifying anti-gay stereotypes to define his openly gay opponent Jon Hoadley. The “disgusting and bigoted” attacks are in stark contrast to Upton’s attempt to portray himself as a moderate and his repeated calls for “civility.” His continued support for the homophobic attacks on Hoadley is bringing further attention to his anti-LGBTQ voting record and support for Donald Trump’s most extreme policy proposals. Michigan’s 6th Congressional District is considered one of the best opportunities for Democrats to unseat an incumbent Republican in 2020.
For weeks now, Upton has approved of coordinated homophobic attacks on Hoadley that refer to him as a pedophile and drug user – absurd claims based on cherry-picked phrases taken out-of-context from blog posts Hoadley wrote 15 years ago. Both claims are false and have historically been used by anti-LGBTQ forces to demean and villainize gay men. The attacks have been included in pro-Upton mailers, pitched by Upton supporters to right-wing media, and have been perpetuated by the Republican National Campaign Committee (NRCC) and other organizations on Twitter.
Upton has contributed more than $960,000 to the NRCC as a member of Congress. Defending Main Street, one of the Super PACs sending the homophobic mailers against Hoadley, has spent over $300,000 to defend Upton since 2014.
Asked repeatedly by journalists, Upton refuses to admit the attacks are false, attempts to deny responsibility, and claims he is helpless to stop them. Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, had the following response:
“For Fred Upton to claim he cannot stop these disgusting and bigoted attacks on Jon is absurd – they are key to his campaign strategy. Fred has given nearly $1 million to the NRCC, has close ties to the operatives producing these mailers and is a favorite of the extreme right-wing media outlets perpetuating these claims. If Fred says publicly that these attacks are wrong and that calling a gay candidate a pedophile is an afront to civil political discourse, they will stop. Fred refuses to do that because he believes these Trump-style campaign tactics are his best chance at winning – making his talk about civility even more hypocritical. Let’s be perfectly clear: Fred Upton is behind these attacks and is running the most homophobic campaign against a gay candidate anywhere in America right now.”
Victory Fund urges reporters to continue asking why Upton will not admit the attacks are false and to tell his campaign and other organizations to end them.
That Upton would run the “most homophobic campaign” in America is consistent with his voting record on LGBTQ equality. Upton repeatedly voted against non-discrimination laws to protect LGBTQ people in employment and healthcare, voted against allowing gay people to serve openly in the military, and voted multiple times to deny LGBTQ people the right to marry. His claim to want to serve all his constituents is disproven by his votes against LGBTQ Michiganders.
Upton also continues to lie about his record on a variety of issues, claiming he supports improving healthcare and the environment – issues important to his constituents. Yet the “Upton amendment” – named after him – would have removed protections in healthcare for people with pre-existing conditions. He voted over 60 times to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA) despite no Republican healthcare plan to replace it. Upton is also standing with Trump administration efforts to destroy the ACA in the courts.
“Fred is a charlatan and a phony and his words about civility defy his votes and his actions,” said Mayor Parker. “He pushes lies about an openly gay candidate he knows are entirely false, he votes with Trump 80 percent of the time and he refuses to speak up when Trump defiles immigrants, women and people of color. He has sold out the interests of his constituents in favor of the extreme-right political machine and Donald Trump.”
Victory Fund has endorsed 310 openly LGBTQ candidates for public office this year. While many of them have faced homophobic and transphobic attacks throughout their campaigns, there is currently no openly LGBTQ candidate facing the onslaught of homophobic attacks faced by Hoadley.
LGBTQ Victory Fund
LGBTQ Victory Fund works to change the face and voice of America’s politics and achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government.