May 18, 2011 | by Chris Johnson
Gay GOP Calif. mayor loses U.S. House bid

Mike Gin (photo courtesy Gin for Congress)

A gay Republican politician in California lost his bid for a U.S. House seat on Tuesday when he finished fifth in a special election behind three Democrats.

Mike Gin, mayor of Redondo Beach, Calif., failed to advance in the race to represent the Calfornia’s 36th congressional district when he didn’t place either first or second in an all-party primary.

According to the California secretary of state’s website, Gin secured 7.8 percent of the vote. Comparatively, Los Angeles City Council member Janice Hahn took 24.7 percent, Republican businessman Craig Huey took 22.2 percent, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen took 21.5 percent and anti-war activist Marcy Winograd took 9.5 percent.

Since no candidate won a majority vote in the race, the top two vote-getters will have to compete in a run-off election set for July 12. Gin’s fourth place finish means he won’t advance to the second round.

In a statement, Gin thanked his followers for their support and said he’ll continue public service as mayor of Redondo Beach.

“I entered public service because of my strong belief that government and elected officials are here to serve the people and our communities,” Gin said. “This belief and my passion for public service will always be an integral part of my life and will always be foremost in my mind as I continue to have the honor of serving as mayor of the great city of Redondo Beach.”

Gin continued, “As mayor, I will continue to fight for the interests of our city and will continue to hold our state and federal elected officials accountable to the interests and needs of our citizens.”

The mayor pledged to work in “a collaborative and beneficial fashion” with whomever becomes the next lawmaker to represent California’s 36th congressional district in the U.S. House.

Had Gin succeeded in his race and won in the run-off election, he would have been the first person in a same-sex marriage to serve in Congress. Gin married his spouse, Christopher Kreidel, three days before Proposition 8 passed in California, which ended same-sex marriage rights in the state.

Additionally, Gin would also have joined gay Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) to become the fifth sitting openly gay member of Congress. Gin would also have been the first openly gay Republican to serve in Congress since former Arizona Congressman Jim Kolbe retired in 2007.

Gin’s focus on economic issues during his campaign and pledge to work for LGBT rights won him the endorsement of the National Log Cabin Republicans — an organization in which he is a member.

R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin’s executive director, said Gin’s pursuit of office was important for the visibility of gay Republicans even though he lost his congressional bid.

“Having gay Republicans such as Mike Gin run for office furthers advocacy for freedom while bolstering conservative principles of individual liberty and individual responsibility,” Gin said. “The LGBT community would be served well to recognize and support such openly gay conservative candidates.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this posting incorrectly stated Gin placed fourth in the all-party primary and didn’t indicate Huey placed second in the race. The Washington Blade regrets the error.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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