Some Republican House members, pundits and activists raised money this week for two openly gay House candidates running in competitive districts.
The pair, former Massachusetts state Sen. Richard Tisei and former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, teamed up in late October to create a joint political action committee, the Equality Leadership Fund, which raised more than $250,000 in the final two months of 2013.
The fund benefited from two fundraisers this week — one Monday night in Miami and another Tuesday in Washington, D.C.
"We're ... raising money across the country from people who were interested in our candidacies, because they believe we represent something different and we could be a catalyst for change in the Republican Party on issues of equality," Tisei said in a Tuesday interview with CQ Roll Call.
Tisei is challenging Rep. John F. Tierney, D-Mass. DeMaio is taking on Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif.
The Miami Herald reported Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, CNN commentator Ana Navarro and former Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., attended the Monday fundraiser. Diaz-Balart's fellow Miami-area Republican, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, was unable to make that fundraiser, but she "will be contributing to both candidates via her PAC this week," a spokesman said.
As for the Tuesday night event near Capitol Hill, a Facebook invitation listed pundit S.E. Cupp of CNN and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman as special guests. Suggested donations ranged from $50 to $2,500.
The fund's Federal Election Commission report showed it sent $101,000 to DeMaio's campaign by the end of 2013 and $136,000 to the Tisei campaign. Its list of contributors included top Republican donor Paul Singer.
Log Cabin Republicans executive director Gregory Angelo, who was at the Tuesday fundraiser, described it as “fundraising to make history."
Former Rep. Jim Kolbe, who revealed he was gay during his tenure in Congress, was one of several hosts for a December fundraiser supporting the fund, according to The Sunlight Foundation.