Gay Republican activist Bryan Pruitt, who for many years worked in D.C. as an event planner, political and campaign consultant, and conservative commentator, has returned to his home state of Kansas to run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by four-term GOP incumbent Pat Roberts.
“It’s critically important that Kansans nominate a candidate who can win in November,” Pruitt told The Mercury, a Manhattan, Kan., daily newspaper. “We have to save the Republican majority in the Senate,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.
The Mercury reported that Pruitt, who among other things has worked as a volunteer for D.C.’s Capital Pride organization, is a native of Wichita, Kan., but recently opened his Senate campaign office in Manhattan, Kan., where immediate family now live.
If elected in what political observers consider a long-shot campaign, Pruitt would become Kansas’s first openly gay U.S. senator. He told The Mercury that by announcing his candidacy a year in advance of the state primary election, he plans to speak with voters who may be uncomfortable about a gay candidate to allow them to get to know him as a person.
“There’s a perception that the Democratic Party is the only one that can nominate and elect diverse voices that reflect all parts of the American experience,” he told the newspaper. “I don’t believe that’s true.”
Pruitt told the Wichita Eagle that he plans to support President Trump’s re-election in 2020.
In 2017, Pruitt was asked to resign as a volunteer event producer for Capital Pride because of comments he made about trans people in a 2016 article in the conservative blog RedState that were deemed offensive.
“As soon as the Capital Pride board was made aware of the May 2016 RedState article by Bryan Pruitt, a Capital Pride volunteer, we immediately asked for and received his resignation,” a Capital Pride statement posted on its Facebook page said at the time.