Jade Esteban Estrada
Gina Ortiz Jones, an Air Force veteran, is running to represent Texas' 23rd Congressional District.
The Republican Party's congressional campaign organization advised outside conservative groups to target Democratic House candidate Gina Ortiz Jones of San Antonio for being gay, the Huffington Post reports
DemocratFacts, a National Republican Campaign Committee website
offering election strategies for outside groups, recommended slipping reminders of Jones’ sexual orientation into ads, according to HuffPost
. Prior to her congressional run, “Jones and her female partner lived and worked near Washington, DC, not Texas,” the website said.
That is, until the website was changed on Tuesday night, shortly after the story ran.
“It was included as a factual statement, but we removed it because her orientation has nothing to do with her being a Washington, D.C., carpetbagger who supports closing local military bases in TX-23 that will cost thousands of jobs,” NRCC spokesperson Bob Salera told HuffPost
of the change.
Even so, a photo of Jones and her partner remains on DemocratFacts.
Jones' campaign called on her Republican opponent, Tony Gonzales, to condemn the party's "shameless attempt to stoke hate." Jones, an Air Force veteran, and Gonzales, a Navy veteran, are running to represent Texas' sprawling 23rd District, which includes a slice of San Antonio along with two-thirds of the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Washington Republicans’ efforts to promote bigotry and homophobia have no place in this race, and it shows just how out of touch they are with Texans in this district,” Jones campaign manager Lacey Morrison said in a statement.
In a tweet, Gonzales he said he "didn't care about the sexual orientation of the person fighting next to me" during his military service and suggested Jones was attempting to distract voters.
In response, Avery Jaffe, Southern regional press secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, tweeted a clip of Gonzales from a recent appearance on former SA councilman Greg Brockhouse's podcast in which the candidate accused Jones of having a "transgender agenda."
"We're up against a social Democrat that wants to have a socialist agenda, this transgender agenda," Gonzales says in the clip.
"If I were @TonyGonzales4TX
, I would probably just keep quiet on this one," Jaffe tweeted.
Contacted for comment on the podcast remarks, Gonzales spokesman Matt Mackowiak provided a statement saying Jones supports using taxpayer dollars to pay for gender reassignment surgery for military personnel.
"That is out of step with the majority of people in this district," Mackowiak said.
In an emailed statement, Democratic veterans group VoteVets, a prominent backer of Jones' campaign, called the NRCC's recommendation "vile and gutter politics at its worst."
"These desperate and homophobic attacks on [Jones] are yet another example of how — just like their standard bearer Donald Trump — today’s Republican Party has nothing to offer the American people beyond faux-patriotism and culture-war grievances,” VoteVets spokesman Will Goodwin said.
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