With the critical 2016 presidential election looming, the Human Rights Campaign has released their campaign endorsements for the upcoming election cycle.
The one that is drawing the most WTF’s in LGBT America and beyond is the head scratching one in which Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) was endorsed by the group in the upcoming Illinois US senate race over Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
This one ranks up there with the 1998 endorsement of then incumbent Sen. Alphonse D’Amato (R-NY) in his race he subsequently lost to now senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and the one in 2012 in which they endorsed incumbent GOP Rep. Mary Bono Mack, who subsequently lost her California US House race to now Rep. Raul Ruiz.
What is galling about this is that Rep Duckworth, who was first elected to Congress in 2012, has a perfect score on HRC’s own rating system versus Mark Kirk’s. He may have been the first Republican co-sponsor of the Equality Act and has a moderate record, but according to HRC’s own 2013-14 rankings he scored a 78 versus Duckworth’s 100. Kirk’s HRC ranking was an even more abysmal 39% in 2009-10.
The HRC endorsement not only doesn’t pass the smell test, it’s also snubbing the first Asian-American elected Congressional representative in Illinois, the first disabled female elected to Congress and an Iraq War shero who is better according to HRC’s own rankings than the GOP incumbent senator they endorsed.
With the Democrats only needing to flip only four seats to gain control of the Senate, it’s another glaring example of HRC political malpractice to ignore your own rating system and support a candidate whose record according to your own rankings is against the LGBT community’s political interests.
You have also endorsed an incumbent candidate who if he holds on, could possibly help the GOP keep control of the Senate and make passage of the Equality Act in that chamber a sure impossibility because we know a senate led by Mitch McConnell won’t even consider it, and a Democratically controlled one will be more likely to do so..
And if he doesn’t, Sen. Schumer and Senator-elect Duckworth will be chuckling about it during their Democratic senate caucus meetings. .
We’ll see if this becomes a political blunder along the lines of the disastrous D’Amato and Bono Mack endorsements. But it is repeated dumb moves like this that keeps people in the LGBT community giving HRC the collective community side eye and regarding it as irrelevant.