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Carl DeMaio Defeated in CA-52

Carl DeMaio Defeated in CA-52

Did sexual harassment allegations derail an otherwise successful campaign?

California’s 52nd district will keep its current representative in Congress for the next two years, as Republican Carl DeMaio failed to oust incumbent Democrat Scott Peters last Tuesday.

The election results were not finalized until 72 hours after voting booths closed, and the final tally came down to 51.25% for Peters and 48.75% for DeMaio, with about 4,400 votes making the difference. Before all absentee ballots were counted, the election was called as a Republican victory, with some news outlets prematurely posting articles about DeMaio being the first openly gay Republican to run and win a congressional race.

Alas, Peters did win, much to the dismay of many Republicans who admired DeMaio’s potential as a “New Generation Republican.”

The DeMaio campaign was hit with a nasty October surprise in the form of sexual harassment allegations from former campaign staffer Todd Bosnich, who is also openly gay. This was followed by the re-emergence of similar claims from DeMaio’s time on the San Diego City Council. DeMaio contended that Bosnich, fired for plagiarism, was merely seeking to exact revenge, and that he was responsible for the May break-in of the DeMaio campaign headquarters days before the primaries.  DeMaio further alleged that Bosnich was responsible for passing on internal campaign documents to the Peters campaign. The Peters campaign handed over the documents to the police, saying they received them anonymously.

The last three weeks of the race for DeMaio devolved into Hollywood-esque drama. But the important question to ask is whether or not these allegations were responsible for DeMaio’s loss. It seems very likely that the scandal turned off independents with weaker ties to the ideological end of DeMaio’s campaign—that is, libertarian conservatism. Die-hard conservatives, libertarians, and those fed up with Peters/Obama/Democrats likely paid little attention to the he-said-he-said drama, but on-the-fence and cross-over voters (i.e., crossing party lines) might have backed out last minute from casting a vote for DeMaio because of this debacle.

And what about the swift-boating of DeMaio from several traditionalist groups that normally support conservative candidates? I suspect little came of it.

Overall, DeMaio could have done more to run damage control on the sexual harassment claims, but the fact that he nearly triumphed in a lean Democrat district and gained national exposure is commendable.  It will be interesting to see where the claims against DeMaio and the counter-claims against Bosnich go, if anywhere. If they are true, DeMaio will probably have to say goodbye to politics, but if they are false then he will definitely have a good shot come 2016.


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Republicans won all over the country without running perverts. Sounds like Republicans in the 52nd let us down in the primary.

    That “Pervert” has done more to stand up for San Diego taxpayers in the last 10 years than the modern Pharisees whose only contribution thus far is to cast stones at allies while scaring away indie voters with diversionary social issues.

      Was he properly vetted for potential charges of harassment, or were such considerations dismissed out of hand by those thrilled about his ‘big tent homosexuality’ and eager to shout down any who dared ask?

        Clearly he (or Herman Cain) did not have the benefit of being vetted by you.

        Estragon in reply to DaMav. | November 10, 2014 at 11:27 pm

        Are you an idiot? The guy making the accusation had been fired by him, was the chief suspect in the campaign office burglary/vandalism, and now we find the Democrat opponent got the campaign strategy book from the same guy and held it for over three days before calling the cops.

        Clear enough, Einstein? Should we draw pictures for you?

          Picture is unfortunately quite clear — the Democrat won the election over Mr Big Tent. 🙁 No need to call names or throw a “hithy”.

          Let us instead enjoy our many victories and learn from our few defeats.

    JerryB in reply to DaMav. | November 10, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    I’m trying to raise kids and am interested in candidates who uphold so-called “diversionary” social issues. The Republicans opened the “big tent” 22 years ago, and I left them. If they want my vote, they can run a pro-life, morally upright candidate. The GOP has made pretty clear to me that they aren’t interested in my vote, for the most part.

      If the Hebrews during their Babylonian captivity are able to raise their kids “in the ways of the Lord” without the benefit of their heathen host writing into law the social idiosyncracies of Judaism, why do you need a Republican candidate or government to do the same? Isn’t that a statist position?

      Hasn’t the Constitution already accorded you the right to legislate that within the limited radius of a pulpit. Or is Oliver Cromwell your idea of a real Republican?

        JerryB in reply to Aucturian. | November 10, 2014 at 9:32 pm

        That’s a confusing reply, but I think it proves my point that “conservatives” in general aren’t interested in getting my vote. In any case, isn’t voting an act of selecting a candidate to my liking? Isn’t politics about expressing opinions? But you berate me, rather than discuss the merits of the topic. That’s so typical these days.

        Am I not free to exclude candidates who engage in or promote bad — in this case, deadly — behavior? Should I not express my misgivings? If you classify my opinions as derived from religion, am I then supposed to keep them to myself? You and the GOP and the Left are pretty much agreed on that. However, I’ll keep talking, and vote as I wish, thank you.

          platypus in reply to JerryB. | November 11, 2014 at 1:32 am

          You forgot ‘expensive’ in your description. As in these people are petri dishes for disease and they think the taxpayers should pay for the consequences of their choices. Doesn’t sound very conservative to me. Actually sounds like typical donkey party leftist.

          So my first questions to slugs like this one is – When did I ask for details about your sex habits? I didn’t ask? Then why are you telling me and everybody else?

          And what, pray tell, does it have to do with the price of eggs in Odessa?

JimMtnViewCaUSA | November 10, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Yeah, the guy has some sketchy friends, at the least. But glad to see that LI is advocating a “big tent”, really.

I also snicker each time I read you guys describe Mr DeMaio as an “openly Republican” gay instead of the standard lib-media “openly gay” Repub. Nicely put!

Absentee ballots made the difference, and those are a prime Democrat vote fraud vector. There may be nothing here, but I am suspicious.

You mean Democrats voted against a gay man? What a bunch of homophobes!

If we’re all lucky, this sinking star will go back to San Diego politics where they seem to appreciate him. I can tell you from having lived in the DC area that there are already too many deviants there.

Very glad he lost; the last thing the Rebublicans need is to alienate a major portion of their base by promoting such candidates, as the establishment enthusiastically did.

Well, ain’t dat too d–n bad. The story of this business of man-on-man sexual harrassment along with office vandalism and other things only suggests bad soap opera rather than fixing the nation. It sounds as if DeMaio is surrounded by a fundamentally unhealthy human environment–not surprising in view of his lifestyle.