Carl DeMaio: This Next-Generation Republican's Socially Liberal Stance Will Save the GOP

Former San Diego councilman and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio Thursday formally announced his candidacy for the 2014 race in the state's 52nd Congressional District.

"I see myself as a 'new generation Republican' who wants to challenge the party to focus on pocket-book, economic and quality of life issues in a more positive and inclusive way, rather than issues that are, frankly, none of the government's business in the first place," DeMaio said in a campaign news release.

With Republicans losing consistently since 2010, this "new generation Republican" might be exactly what Republican leadership needs if the Republican party is to stop its downward slide.

DeMaio backs marriage equality (and is openly gay himself), supports medical marijuana, and is pro-choice. But DeMaio hopes to keep the focus away from social issues. Instead, he hopes to focus on economic and government issues such as balancing the federal budget, making government work again for its citizens, and revitalizing the economy.

To accomplish these goals, DeMaio believes that we need to "fix Congress first," meaning that Congress should enact a "Read the Entire Bill" rule to give congressmen and the public time to read a bill before it's voted on, enact a "single-subject rule" to stop special interests, and cut perks for congressmen such as free travel and gifts, among other Congressional reforms.

Thus, DeMaio is running a different kind of Republican campaign. Ever since the 1980s, Republicans have focused on the government's involvement in social issues, but this has proven to be a losing strategy. DeMaio has taken a traditionally liberal position on a few key issues such as marriage and abortion, and this could be the beginning of a new type of Republican candidate.

It is with this socially liberal position that new-generation Republicans like DeMaio can accomplish two political goals: First, they take voters away from Democrats who would vote based on social issues. Second, by taking a similar social stance to Democrats, they make the economy the biggest difference between the two parties.

Since the economy is an issue area where Republicans remain competitive, the new-generation Republican has a higher chance of victory than socially conservative Republicans, whose recent losses may be due to their social views.

As for Carl DeMaio, he will likely run against freshman Congressman Scott Peters who won by less than 4,000 votes in 2012. If he wins, DeMaio might prove that the new generation Republican is what the GOP needs to become competitive once again.

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Christian Rice

Christian is a senior at Georgetown University pursuing a double-major in government and philosophy. He has worked as a research assistant on Economic Liberty and a legislative analyst on economic development, communication and technology policy for a non-profit in Washington, D.C.

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