Carl DeMaio, a former San Diego City Councilman who is leading the recall effort of state Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), was on hand for a conflict that is causing political backbiting in Orange County.
Orange County Republican Party Chairman Fred Whitaker Thursday criticized a vice chairman of the Orange County Democratic Party for the way he confronted volunteers collecting signatures in the effort to recall Newman.
The target of Whitaker’s criticism, Vice Chair Jeff LeTourneau, accused Whitaker of “cranking up” a story that had died last week when Fox News Channel broadcast a video of LeTourneau’s conflict with volunteers.
Whitaker accused LeTourneau of “verbally attacking gay volunteers.” In the video, LeTourneau is shown walking up to the volunteers saying, “Which one of you (expletive) is the gay?”
“Jeff LeTourneau’s outrageous and unacceptable verbal attack against gay volunteers collecting signatures to recall Josh Newman is intolerance at its worst and we completely reject it,” Whitaker said.
“As chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County, I call on Jeff LeTourneau to resign as vice chair of the Democratic Party of Orange County. I also call on both the Democratic Party of Orange County and Sen. Josh Newman to officially condemn Jeff LeTourneau’s vicious tirade. As a community, we must stand together and oppose this kind of intimidation — it has no place in civil society.”
LeTourneau, who is gay and has been an activist in the gay community going back to the 1980s, said he was sorry for using profane language in the June 10 conflict outside a Walmart in Fullerton, but refused to retract his message.
DeMaio, who is also gay, weighed in.
“To attack volunteers simply because they are gay is reprehensible,” he said.
LeTourneau told City News Service he is offended that anyone who is gay would support the Republican Party, which he said has stood against policies benefiting the gay community since the 1980s.
LeTourneau said he has “unequivocally apologized” for the “manner in which I delivered my remarks. Not the remarks, though, because every one is true.”
In the video, LeTourneau is seen criticizing what he sees as “outsiders” coming into the district with money to upend the Democrats’ super-majority in the state legislature.
Fran Sdao, the chair of the Orange County Democratic Party, issued a statement saying, “The out-of-district interests, who are wasting taxpayer money by attempting to recall our state senator, have caused emotions to run high. The Democratic Party of Orange County encourages every Democrat, especially those serving on our central committee, to focus on organizing in a productive and respectful manner.”
–City News Service
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