Pro-gay marriage GOP group enters Florida congressional race

Two wedding rings in front of a rainbow banner
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

American Unity PAC, the high-powered super PAC founded by major GOP donor and gay rights activist Paul Singer, has entered a new congressional race — cutting a new round of ads slamming Democratic incumbent Joe Garcia as a scandal-prone Washington hypocrite. The new ad follows the PAC’s modus operandi of supporting Republican candidates who have publicly supported gay marriage.

In video shared by the Miami Herald, Garcia’s Republican opponent, Carlos Curbelo, told a group of Log Cabin Republicans that “government should not discriminate on the issue of marriage and if people want to marry they should be allowed to marry no questions asked,” adding that he also thinks the government shouldn’t meddle with churches’ own definition of marriage.

The two candidates are running in the Sunshine State’s 26th District, covering Key West and parts of Miami-Dade County. The district leans Democrat — Obama won there in both elections — but elections guru Stu Rothenberg sees a potential for a Republican victory in the Everglades.

American Unity PAC is at the forefront of the fight to get the Republican party to support marriage equality. Bankrolled by a few wealthy New England donors, including Singer, a hedge fund manager, it has spent nearly $3 million in the midterm elections. Its biggest investments to date have been in primary races in New Hampshire’s 1st and New York’s 22nd Districts — two races that pitted pro-gay marriage candidates against social conservatives.

For American Unity, which lists former George W. Bush administration staffer Margaret Hoover as its treasurer, the topic boils down to familiar questions about government intrusion in private individuals’ lives. From its website:

Too often government serves as an obstacle to prosperity for millions of Americans – confiscating their wealth with escalating taxes, strangling their businesses with burdensome regulations and undermining our economy with unsustainable spending and increasing uncertainty. For Americans who happen to be gay or lesbian, it goes one step farther, denying them the same rights and responsibilities extended to every other taxpaying family.

The super PAC spent around $700,000 on each of those races — a huge amount for a House race. Daniel Innis, an openly gay Republican in the New Hampshire race, ultimately lost while incumbent Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y., who signed a measure to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, is running unopposed in the general election after defeating assemblywoman Claudia Tenney.

It’s not clear how much the group will be spending in Florida. An email sent to the PAC was not immediately returned. This post will be updated if we receive a reply.