Yes, Carl DeMaio Is a Gay Republican

Now will everyone please stop asking him about it?

This image is only licensed for the story that ran in the 7/12/2014 magazine. Carl DeMaio stands with his back to the San Diego skyline on June 10, 2014. 
© 2014 KEVIN ROCHE
Winston Ross
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Winston Ross
July 11, 2014, 1 a.m.

Carl De­Maio’s cam­paign headquar­ters in San Diego’s Mira Mesa neigh­bor­hood feel like they were ren­ted by someone for whom price was most def­in­itely an ob­ject. His staff has fixed the broken win­dows, ceil­ing tiles, gaps in the dry­wall, and light fix­tures, and the place has a new coat of paint. But the hall­way out­side the of­fice is still dank and stale, like one you’d ex­pect to lead to a low-budget private in­vest­ig­at­or. Above a stack of lawn signs a warn­ing reads: “DO NOT MOVE BOXES. WALL UN­STABLE.”

De­Maio, 39 but still re­mark­ably fresh-faced above his crisp, collared shirt, sits in a corner of­fice on the oth­er side of the un­re­li­able wall. He had been talk­ing a tor­rent, filling every bit of empty air like a stu­dent-coun­cil pres­id­ent who’s found someone to de­bate dur­ing lunch. He’s hopped up on caf­feine, but his nat­ur­al en­thu­si­asm and rap­id-fire speech pat­tern also factor heav­ily in­to the pic­ture.

Now, as he puts back his fourth cup of cof­fee of the morn­ing, I ask him about what it was like to come out, and he turns terse. “It was not a big deal,” he says. “Like, “˜Oh, really? That’s totally fine, we can take care of that.’ “ He waves his hand dis­missively.

When, at 25, De­Maio told his sib­lings and friends that he was gay, he had just faced down a dec­ade of ex­ist­en­tial chal­lenges that had left him ef­fect­ively with no par­ents to in­form. For 10 years, all he had thought about was sur­viv­al, he says, and by the time he felt able to fo­cus on any­thing else, he’d already lived the clas­sic up-by-the-boot­straps Amer­ic­an Dream. His sexu­al ori­ent­a­tion may make him a “zoo an­im­al” to pun­dits, he says — “look at the gay Re­pub­lic­an” — but to him it is a sec­ond­ary de­tail. By the time he had a chance to reck­on with his sexu­al­ity, his con­ser­vat­ism already defined him.

In­deed, the run­down feel of the build­ing we’re in seems less odd — even for a can­did­ate who had by April of this year raised more money than any Re­pub­lic­an chal­lenger for a House seat in the na­tion — once you know that De­Maio is fairly ob­sessed with fisc­al re­spons­ib­il­ity and ef­fi­ciency. That, he will tell you, is who he is. His sexu­al ori­ent­a­tion is an­oth­er fact about him, but not an es­pe­cially sa­li­ent one — which is how he’d like the GOP to treat it as well.

Not only does the party’s op­pos­i­tion to gay mar­riage cost Re­pub­lic­ans votes, De­Maio ar­gues, it’s just not worthy of a place on the GOP’s agenda; not ahead of the $17 tril­lion na­tion­al debt. “So­cial is­sues” in gen­er­al, he con­tends, are a fool­ish dis­trac­tion from the mam­moth task of re­form­ing gov­ern­ment. “There’s a new gen­er­a­tion of Re­pub­lic­ans com­ing up that says on so­cial is­sues, leave us alone,” he says. “That’s where the coun­try is.” (An ABC News/Wash­ing­ton Post poll in March found that 60 per­cent of Re­pub­lic­ans young­er than 40 are in fa­vor of gay mar­riage.)

If De­Maio un­seats Demo­crat­ic Rep. Scott Peters in Cali­for­nia’s bell­weth­er 52nd Dis­trict, he could be­come the first openly gay Re­pub­lic­an to be voted in­to Con­gress — or he might have to share that title. Two oth­er can­did­ates for the House in 2014, Dan In­nis of New Hamp­shire and Richard Ti­sei of Mas­sachu­setts, are gay, Re­pub­lic­an, and mak­ing the same dir­ect ap­peal to the coun­try’s in­creas­ingly liber­tari­an polit­ics. They have said in re­cent in­ter­views that voters don’t care about sexu­al­ity any­more; what mat­ter are fisc­al is­sues and fix­ing a dys­func­tion­al polit­ic­al sys­tem.

Though he fea­tured his part­ner in a cam­paign ad­vert­ise­ment — hold­ing hands, no less! — De­Maio rarely ref­er­ences be­ing gay in his stump speeches, un­less you read between the lines when he says such things as, “We’re more than a la­bel” or “I’m not one of those Re­pub­lic­ans.” Like In­nis and Ti­sei (both of whom are mar­ried) he sup­ports mar­riage equal­ity, and says he’s fully pre­pared to chal­lenge his fel­low con­ser­vat­ives when they say something ig­nor­ant. But he’s also been cri­ti­cized for ac­cept­ing cam­paign dona­tions from back­ers of Pro­pos­i­tion 8, the state’s now-over­turned ban on gay mar­riage.

This is a new space in Amer­ic­an polit­ics, and De­Maio, In­nis, and Ti­sei are three of the first to get there. They are out Re­pub­lic­ans who are sup­port­ive of — and un­apo­lo­get­ic­ally be­ne­fit­ing from — the fight for LGBT equal­ity. But they also aren’t driv­en by it and don’t want to be defined by it.

A young Carl, with his broth­er, Chris De­Maio (right). (Cour­tesy of Carl De­Maio)ON THE STUMP, De­Maio of­ten talks about ar­riv­ing in Wash­ing­ton for his first day of classes at Geor­getown Uni­versity with noth­ing but a duffel bag and $36 — the open­er to a rags-to-riches nar­rat­ive that ends with him selling not one but two suc­cess­ful com­pan­ies for mil­lions when he was just 27 years old. But the crux of his per­son­al story be­gins much earli­er than that.

When Carl was in second grade, his moth­er, Di­ane, was dia­gnosed with breast can­cer and giv­en just six months to live. She sur­vived for six years, but the can­cer carved away at an already dys­func­tion­al mar­riage and an un­stable fam­ily life. De­Maio’s dad, Carl Sr., had al­ways been ab­us­ive, he says, but after his mom’s dia­gnos­is, everything got worse. “It was out of con­trol. He was al­ways scream­ing and yelling,” De­Maio re­calls. “It was a very un­safe en­vir­on­ment, but I didn’t know any dif­fer­ent. I thought that’s what fam­ily was.”

Two weeks be­fore Di­ane’s death, in Ju­ly 1990, De­Maio says, Carl Sr. took off, leav­ing Carl, 15, his sis­ter, Susan, 19, and his broth­er Chris, 14, es­sen­tially orphaned. (De­Maio’s fath­er de­clined to com­ment for this story, say­ing he didn’t “want to talk polit­ics.”)

“How can you do this to your kids?” De­Maio says he wondered when his fath­er left. “I nev­er could un­der­stand it. I was re­sent­ful and angry: “˜Why the fuck did you do this to me?’ But I got to a point where I real­ized this was a guy who was in­cap­able of be­ing a fath­er. Do you hold someone ac­count­able for that? It got me to a point where I could grieve.”

A judge gran­ted Susan tem­por­ary cus­tody of her broth­ers — along with a re­strain­ing or­der against Carl Sr. De­Maio’s par­ents were school­teach­ers from Dubuque, Iowa, where Carl was born in 1974. Des­pite their re­l­at­ively mod­est in­comes, they had moved to well-off Or­ange County, Cali­for­nia, when Carl was a tod­dler. The chil­dren held a yard sale to try to pay the mort­gage on their Hunt­ing­ton Beach home, but lost the house to fore­clos­ure. Carl’s grand­par­ents agreed to take in one of the three chil­dren; De­Maio says the sib­lings de­cided it should be the young­est, Chris.

Carl had no home and no par­ents, but thanks to his moth­er he did have some­where to live. Be­fore she died, she had en­rolled him at Geor­getown Pre­par­at­ory School in Mary­land — a con­duit to Geor­getown Uni­versity, es­pe­cially for stu­dents who loved polit­ics, as Carl did. (He’d learned about the Je­suit-run board­ing school as a vo­lun­teer on Chris Cox’s suc­cess­ful cam­paign for the House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives in 1988.) De­Maio’s moth­er had pressed the school to ad­mit him des­pite the un­cer­tainty and tur­moil in his fam­ily. He had been ac­cep­ted on schol­ar­ship and would re­main a “res­id­ent” stu­dent for the rest of his high school years.

“There’s a new gen­er­a­tion of Re­pub­lic­ans com­ing up that says on so­cial is­sues, leave us alone,” De­Maio says. “That’s where the coun­try is.”

BACK IN IOWA, De­Maio’s aunt Doreen Barta some­times babys­at Carl and his sib­lings, and she re­calls the middle child as a ram­bunc­tious “little dick­ens” who was al­ways get­ting in­to trouble and par­tic­u­larly hard to watch. But by the time Carl ar­rived at “Prep,” says Charles Zedlewski, a former class­mate and long­time friend, he was a real-life Alex P. Keaton. Not just be­cause he was a young Re­pub­lic­an — many of the stu­dents were — but be­cause he was clearly a teen­age adult.

“You def­in­itely got the feel­ing all through high school that he was for all in­tents and pur­poses on his own,” Zedlewski says. “He could get good grades or not, work hard or not. It was all on him. Even as a fresh­man, it was clear this was like a self-con­tained per­son who has figured out how to be self-suf­fi­cient.” That first year, De­Maio told one or two of his early friends that he’d been orphaned. For the rest of his time in high school, he tucked his tragedy away. He set his per­son­al life on a shelf and fo­cused on the fu­ture.

De­Maio was a clas­sic ex­tra­cur­ricular-activ­it­ies geek at school, Zedlewski says. He joined the de­bate team, Mod­el UN, the year­book, and dabbled in theat­er. Even at that age, he walked the halls with a sense of “mani­fest des­tiny,” un­afraid to tackle any chal­lenge; Zedlewski re­calls that, when De­Maio’s Mod­el UN team was as­signed to rep­res­ent Chile, the fu­ture politi­cian ar­ranged a meet­ing with Chile’s am­bas­sad­or to the U.S., so his class­mates could get a bet­ter feel for the coun­try.

Even as a young­ster, De­Maio had shared his fath­er’s con­ser­vat­ive world­view rather than his moth­er’s lib­er­al one, he says, but be­ing orphaned thor­oughly ce­men­ted that philo­sophy. It taught him that people should rely on them­selves. “I think I’ve al­ways been a Re­pub­lic­an,” he says. “I be­lieve gov­ern­ment can be a part of the solu­tion, but big gov­ern­ment is as bad as big busi­ness. My core philo­sophy is about trust­ing in­di­vidu­al freedoms. For me, those val­ues I see more in line with Re­pub­lic­an ideo­logy than the Demo­crats.”

(De­Maio’s com­mu­nic­a­tions dir­ect­or, Dave Mc­Cul­loch, makes a dis­tinc­tion between De­Maio’s mind-set and the com­mon con­ser­vat­ive “up by the boot­straps” credo: It’s not that De­Maio be­lieves that if he did it, any­one can, Mc­Cul­loch says. It’s that De­Maio doesn’t be­lieve that someone else is go­ing to catch you when you fall. He be­lieves we’re all on our own.)

Geor­getown Uni­versity gave De­Maio a par­tial schol­ar­ship; the rest of his tu­ition he paid for with stu­dent loans and a few thou­sand dol­lars his mom had set aside for col­lege. At Geor­getown, he tapped in­to an in­terest in busi­ness and fisc­al ef­fi­ciency. He landed a job at the Con­gres­sion­al In­sti­tute, and, al­though he was just a col­lege stu­dent, helped the Re­pub­lic­an think tank craft the Gov­ern­ment Per­form­ance and Res­ults Act of 1993, which re­quired fed­er­al agen­cies to set per­form­ance goals and meas­ure their pro­gress to­ward them.

The surge in in­terest in im­prov­ing gov­ern­ment per­form­ance cre­ated a need the young De­Maio was con­fid­ent he could fill. In 1998, two years after he gradu­ated from Geor­getown, De­Maio de­cided to launch his own busi­ness — a con­sult­ing com­pany geared to­ward elim­in­at­ing gov­ern­ment waste. No banks or gov­ern­ment agen­cies were will­ing to lend start-up cap­it­al to a 23-year-old with no as­sets, so he maxed out two cred­it cards to pay for the first sem­inars held by his new com­pany, The Per­form­ance In­sti­tute. “I’d already lost everything,” he says of the de­cision to take the leap. “What’s the worst that can hap­pen to me?” He offered con­fer­ences and classes on ef­fi­cient gov­ern­ment man­age­ment, and by 2005, he later told the journ­al­ism non­profit Voice of San Diego, 10,000 people were com­ing to his sem­inars each year, 95 per­cent of them gov­ern­ment work­ers. (He would sell that com­pany and a spin-off, Amer­ic­an Stra­tegic Man­age­ment In­sti­tute, which provided guid­ance to cor­por­a­tions, for a com­bined $6 mil­lion in 2007.)

Only after he’d launched his first com­pany did Carl be­gin to think about ro­mance. Un­til 1999, “I was com­pletely in battle mode,” De­Maio says. “I wasn’t even dat­ing.” Non­ethe­less, he says, telling his friends and sib­lings that he was gay was easy, be­cause by then he had built his self-es­teem, “brick-by-brick,” on his own. “I was com­pletely com­fort­able with who I am,” he says.

Per­haps so, but De­Maio is not at all com­fort­able talk­ing about who he is. With some arm-twist­ing, he will of­fer mat­ter-of-fact an­swers to per­son­al ques­tions — between prot­est­a­tions that the top­ic is a dis­trac­tion and that he doesn’t want to “dwell on the past.” He’d rather dis­cuss the is­sues — or just about any­thing else.

De­Maio (left) leaves a news con­fer­ence with his part­ner, Jonath­an Hale, after con­ced­ing de­feat in the San Diego may­or­al race in 2012. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)IN 2002, De­Maio began a gradu­al trans­ition back to Cali­for­nia, com­mut­ing between Wash­ing­ton and San Diego. After selling his com­pan­ies in 2007, he turned his at­ten­tion to San Diego policy and polit­ics full time. He ran the Cit­izens Budget Pro­ject, a con­ser­vat­ive think tank that iden­ti­fied waste­ful spend­ing and ef­fi­ciency op­por­tun­it­ies in San Diego’s budget, be­fore win­ning a seat on the City Coun­cil in 2008.

As one of only two Re­pub­lic­ans in the gov­ern­ment, De­Maio rang alarm bells about San Diego’s cooked books: The city had been in­ten­tion­ally un­der­fund­ing its pen­sion sys­tem since 1996 to make up for a loom­ing budget de­fi­cit, and had used fraud­u­lent in­form­a­tion to sell in­vestors more than $2.3 bil­lion in bonds. In 2008, the Se­cur­it­ies and Ex­change Com­mis­sion charged five San Diego city of­fi­cials who had resigned after the budget scan­dal with fraud; four of them later agreed to fines of $25,000 apiece. The crisis left the pen­sion fund with a $1.4 bil­lion de­fi­cit, threat­en­ing to bank­rupt one of the na­tion’s largest cit­ies. To help clean up the mess, De­Maio sponsored a suc­cess­ful voter ini­ti­at­ive to re­place the city’s pen­sion pro­gram with a 401(k) sys­tem. He also worked to de­feat the Demo­crats’ main pro­posed solu­tion — a sales tax.

Two and a half years in­to his first term, De­Maio an­nounced a bid for may­or. From the start, he faced an up­hill battle. That was partly be­cause he’s gay, but chiefly be­cause, after dec­ades of fa­vor­ing Re­pub­lic­ans for may­or, the city had be­come largely Demo­crat­ic. Head­ing in­to the elec­tion, he en­joyed an ap­par­ently com­fort­able 5-point lead over former U.S. Rep. Bob Fil­ner, ac­cord­ing to De­Maio’s in­tern­al polling. But on Elec­tion Day, a huge per­cent­age of re­gistered voters turned out — many of them Demo­crats stream­ing to the polls to cast votes for Barack Obama — and erased De­Maio’s ad­vant­age.

With­in a year, Fil­ner was forced to resign amid al­leg­a­tions of sexu­al har­ass­ment. De­Maio would have won the res­ult­ing spe­cial elec­tion eas­ily, he says, but by then he had already be­gun a cam­paign for Con­gress, on a plat­form that in­cludes tak­ing his pen­sion-re­form ef­forts na­tion­al; re­quir­ing le­gis­lat­ors to cast a per­cent­age of their votes re­motely, via a yet-to-be-de­veloped smart­phone app, so they can spend more time in their dis­tricts; and tack­ling im­mig­ra­tion re­form by se­cur­ing the bor­ders and de­vel­op­ing a plan to grant cit­izen­ship to some of the na­tion’s 11 mil­lion un­doc­u­mented im­mig­rants.

To make what would seem a tough choice, he began a pro/con list last fall, in­tend­ing to lay out all the reas­ons for con­tinu­ing the push to Wash­ing­ton, and those in fa­vor of scrap­ping that ef­fort and stay­ing in San Diego. He nev­er made it to the second list. By then, the polit­ic­al power on the City Coun­cil had shif­ted to­ward the Demo­crats, and the city had entered in­to a five-year bind­ing con­tract with its labor uni­ons. He didn’t see how he’d be able to get much done in that en­vir­on­ment. Even with the grid­lock in Wash­ing­ton, De­Maio de­cided to push ahead with his con­gres­sion­al bid.

Com­ing out wasn’t a de­fin­ing mo­ment for De­Maio; he’d already en­dured big­ger tri­als.

DE­MAIO’S DE­TERM­IN­A­TION TO put oth­er pri­or­it­ies ahead of gay rights hasn’t kept op­pon­ents of same-sex mar­riage from work­ing against his can­did­acy, or from mail­ing voters in his dis­trict lit­er­at­ure at­tack­ing him for “hold­ing the hand of his gay lov­er” at a pride parade. His cam­paign of­fice keeps a log of phone calls from those who leave mes­sages like, “Tell Carl to go to hell,” and De­Maio’s cam­paign man­ager once con­sidered car­ry­ing a con­cealed weapon to events. The Na­tion­al Or­gan­iz­a­tion for Mar­riage sent out emails in sup­port of one of De­Maio’s con­ser­vat­ive primary op­pon­ents, ur­ging right-wing voters to stay away from this “ho­mo­sexu­al act­iv­ist who calls him­self a Re­pub­lic­an.”

The Peters cam­paign, mean­while, is bent on con­vin­cing voters that De­Maio is just the op­pos­ite — a far-right wolf in mod­er­ate Re­pub­lic­an cloth­ing. Peters de­clined to be in­ter­viewed for this story, but his of­fice offered up a list of bul­let points that es­sen­tially make the case that De­Maio is a tea-party shill. In 2011, for ex­ample, Peters’s cam­paign points out, the then-may­or­al can­did­ate called the move­ment the “con­science” of gov­ern­ment re­form and as­sured a gath­er­ing of tea-party mem­bers he would “owe them.” (In re­sponse, De­Maio told me, “I’m so happy to take on the tea party. They sit there and beat their chests about how pure they are, but they don’t get any­thing done.”)

De­Maio’s pri­or­ity list hasn’t en­deared him to gay act­iv­ists, either. LGBT lead­ers re­fuse to en­dorse him for Con­gress, just as they op­posed his may­or­al bid. They say they be­lieve the elec­tion of an openly gay Re­pub­lic­an — es­pe­cially this openly gay Re­pub­lic­an — would hurt, not help, their cause. Act­iv­ists routinely turn out to boo De­Maio at his events, and they speak openly about their dis­dain for any politi­cian who be­longs to a party that they say op­poses their civil rights. “If you’re LGBT, you don’t see your abil­ity to marry and ad­opt as “˜so­cial is­sues,’ “ Stampp Corb­in, pub­lish­er of San Diego’s LGBT Weekly, tells me. “These are civil-rights is­sues. Why would Carl run for a party [whose plat­form] would deny he and his part­ner those abil­it­ies? Why would I want to elect an openly gay Re­pub­lic­an to Con­gress if their plat­form says they want to deny me my civil rights? When you think your equal­ity in Amer­ica is less im­port­ant than any­thing, you have some is­sues you need to work out.”

That’s a po­s­i­tion held by many gay people, says Don­ald Haid­er-Markel, a polit­ic­al-sci­ence pro­fess­or at the Uni­versity of Kan­sas and the au­thor of Out and Run­ning, a book on openly gay can­did­ates seek­ing pub­lic of­fice. The com­mon view is that it doesn’t help to elect gay can­did­ates if those can­did­ates don’t pri­or­it­ize gay rights. “They want policy res­ults,” Haid­er-Markel says. “To stay away from cer­tain kinds of is­sues, they see it as a kind of self-loath­ing.”

De­Maio scoffs at the op­pos­i­tion he faces from LGBT lead­ers. They won’t sup­port him be­cause they’re wor­ried about los­ing their own polit­ic­al clout if con­ser­vat­ives come around on gay rights, he in­sists. “They don’t want the Re­pub­lic­an Party to change on LGBT is­sues,” he tells me. “They want a bo­gey­man to fun­draise off of.”

DES­PITE THE CON­VER­GENCE of forces united in op­pos­i­tion to him, De­Maio has been gain­ing in the polls. Last month, he faced off against Peters in a non­par­tis­an “top two” primary, which the in­cum­bent won with 42 per­cent of the vote. De­Maio took 36 per­cent — a strong show­ing, giv­en that there were two oth­er Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ates in the mix. A week later, a Sur­vey­USA poll found De­Maio ahead of Peters, 51 per­cent to 44 per­cent. Eighty-eight per­cent of voters said De­Maio’s sexu­al ori­ent­a­tion made “no dif­fer­ence” to them in de­term­in­ing wheth­er to sup­port him. That, the can­did­ate is con­vinced, is proof that his con­stitu­ents are so sick of what’s hap­pen­ing in Con­gress, and so im­pressed with his re­cord, that they’re will­ing to push past the polit­ics of old. (In May, Na­tion­al Journ­al dis­covered that De­Maio’s of­fice had pla­gi­ar­ized a re­port the magazine had pro­duced on con­gres­sion­al pen­sions. De­Maio sub­sequently apo­lo­gized. I spoke to him be­fore that in­cid­ent.)

De­Maio says he re­cog­nizes that the Re­pub­lic­an Party is wrong on gay rights, but he’d rather work to change the GOP’s po­s­i­tion than be­come a Demo­crat. The truth is, he says, he’d prefer to be­long to neither party — they’re both “lazy,” and “they’ve grown ac­cus­tomed to us­ing wedge is­sues that ex­cite the base and scare the crap out of people” — but he has to caucus with someone. Giv­en the choice, he says, “I be­lieve I have a far bet­ter abil­ity to take on the Re­pub­lic­an Party, as di­min­ished, dam­aged, and in­ad­equate as it is on sev­er­al fronts, and try to change it.”

He is aware that he’s something of a token for the GOP, a po­ten­tial tick­et back to “big tent” status. (“His can­did­acy has na­tion­al im­plic­a­tions for how the Re­pub­lic­an Party is per­ceived,” read an in­vit­a­tion to an April fun­draiser in Palm Springs.) But if his run is a test of wheth­er the party is really ready to look bey­ond a gay can­did­ate’s sexu­al ori­ent­a­tion, it also hints at a fu­ture in which gay voters might someday be more likely to be openly Re­pub­lic­an.

Com­ing out wasn’t a de­fin­ing mo­ment for De­Maio; he’d already en­dured big­ger tri­als. And as gay people gain mar­riage equal­ity, in­creas­ing vis­ib­il­ity in Amer­ic­an cul­ture, and main­stream ac­cept­ance in more parts of the coun­try, com­ing out — and liv­ing out — will pre­sum­ably be­come less dif­fi­cult. It will, in oth­er words, be the de­fin­ing fea­ture of few­er people’s lives. Iron­ic­ally, the suc­cess of the gay-rights move­ment could be good news for the GOP, al­low­ing more people like Carl De­Maio, Dan In­nis, and Richard Ti­sei to put oth­er pri­or­it­ies at the top of their lists.

COR­REC­TION: An earli­er ver­sion of this story mis­spelled Dave Mc­Cul­loch’s name and got his title wrong; he is com­mu­nic­a­tions dir­ect­or.

Win­ston Ross, a former na­tion­al cor­res­pond­ent at New­s­week and The Daily Beast, is a freel­ance writer liv­ing in Eu­gene, Ore­gon.

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$618 BILLION IN FUNDING
By a Big Margin, House Passes Defense Bill
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The National Defense Authorization Act passed the House this morning by a 375-34 vote. The bill, which heads to the Senate next week for final consideration, would fund the military to the tune of $618.7 billion, "about $3.2 billion more than the president requested for fiscal 2017. ... The White House has issued a veto threat on both the House and Senate-passed versions of the bill, but has not yet said if it will sign the compromise bill released by the conference committee this week."

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FILED BY JILL STEIN
Michigan Attorney General Sues to End Recount
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

Bill Schuette, Michigan's attorney general, has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the state to halt the recount of the state's voting results. The recount was elected by Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Schuette says the recount shouldn't occur because Stein cited no evidence of voter fraud or tabulation error.

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SUCCEEDS UPTON
Walden to Chair Energy and Commerce Committee
11 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Republicans have elected Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) the next chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. Walden defeated Reps. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Joe Barton (R-TX), the former committee chairman, in the race for the gavel" to succeed Michgan's Fred Upton.

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