Marrs Makes Issue of Opponent’s Gay Campaign Donor

Del. Bradley Marrs, R-Chesterfield, has attacked a $10,000 contribution to his independent challenger, Katherine B. Waddell, which he characterized as coming from a “wealthy homosexual businessman.” Though not referring to him by name, Marrs apparently was alluding to George M. “Mac” Pence III, a local automobile dealer who is gay. As quoted by Jeff Schapiro in today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch, Marrs wrote:

But most recently, Mrs. Waddell accepted another big donation from a wealthy homosexual businessman active in the lobbying efforts of the homosexuals’ advocacy group, Equality Virginia. That donation was for TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!!

In an interview, Marrs suggested that Waddell “may be” in favor of same-sex marriage and extending adoption rights to gay and lesbian couples, both of which he opposes. Waddell declined to state her views on those issues.

Well, let’s see now… Let’s apply Marrs’ logic to the $10,500 contribution that he received from personal injury law firm Allen & Allen.

But most recently, Mr. Marrs accepted another big donation from wealthy personal injury lawyers at Allen & Allen, who make their money by suing businesses. That donation was for TEN THOUSAND, FIVE-HUNDRED DOLLARS!!

In an interview, Jim Bacon suggested that Marrs “may be” in favor of filing frivolous lawsuits and shaking down businesses, while pocketing outrageous contingency fees, all of which he opposes.

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  1. Barnie Day Avatar
    Barnie Day

    Marrs is an embarrassment, not just to the principled Republicans who serve with distinction in the House of Delegates, but to all of Virginia. The leadership should denounce his bigotry.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Where’s Brian Cannon when you need him?

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    You’d think an experienced trial lawyer would shy away from a personal attack on the reputation of a very successful businessman, who now has a pretty good argument that this was retribution for his contribution. One thing about these trial lawyers, when there is blood in the water like this they don’t mind going after their own. This story is just beginning. Wow.

  4. Pastor John Avatar
    Pastor John

    marrs is right. the homosexuals must be beat over the heads with bowling pins.

  5. Ben Kyber Avatar
    Ben Kyber

    I’m proud to have such a stand up guy representing my district in the house of delegates.

    Ha! Right! What a bigot!

  6. Will Vehrs Avatar
    Will Vehrs

    It seems like not a day goes by without some Republican or someone associated with Republicans doing their level best to confirm every stereotype ever leveled against the party.

    One step up, two steps back.

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    Go to the Schedule D, the expenditure reports of both Marrs and Kilgore filed with the State Board of Elections and what intersection do you see? Consulting fees to the same firm. Did Marrs write this letter on his own? Or did it come from this consulting firm? What is the reaction of the Kilgore camp?

  8. Anonymous Avatar

    Did you guys know that Ben Tribbett is NLS? He’s as bad a Marrs!

  9. Waldo Jaquith Avatar
    Waldo Jaquith

    FWIW, I’m not going to blog about this as “look what Republicans do.”

    Olive branch duly extended.

  10. Anonymous Avatar

    I hope most people in the 68th will realize what a disgrace Marrs is and vote for Katherine Waddell in November. She is more in line with what the majority of Republicans believe anyway. She’s a much better alternative.

  11. Salt Lick Avatar
    Salt Lick

    Well, folks, let me wade in here and give you someone to beat up on. Perhaps I’m morally obtuse, but I’m missing the outrage here.

    I don’t know this fellow Marrs, so I don’t know context, but I see nothing wrong with pointing out a contributor is homosexual IF in fact that contributor is active in pushing “gay issues.” Isn’t the public entitled to know an activist for a cause has given a candidate a sizable amount of money? Jim, I don’t get your Allen & Allen analogy. I think the public is entitled to know about that, also. These people give money for a reason, don’t they? I mean, if a homosexual businessman gave a candidate money because he thought it would buy him influence concerning his business, but not gay issues, then I’d consider it disgusting to “out” the person in hopes of tainting the candidate. But from what I gather, that’s not what happened here.

    So I don’t understand. Help me grow here.

  12. Ben Kyber Avatar
    Ben Kyber

    I see your point Salt Lick, but the fact is that Marrs is intentionally playing on voter’s prejudices towards gays.

  13. Anonymous Avatar

    And Blue, doesn’t a $10,500 contribution from a political activist in the homosexual movement tell you something? We’re talking about policy here. Now I don’t know Marrs either, but there’s absolutely nothing bigoted about the quotes I see in the above blog. There are plenty of people that disagree with the homosexual political movement and the redefinition of and creation of special rights for homosexuals, but yet do not hate or hold bigoted views toward those same people. Yes, there are people that hate gays, but by-and-large the political movement in opposition to “homosexual rights” has nothing to do with bigotry, “homophobia”, or hatred. It has to do with the foundations of our society and human nature. In fact many homosexuals themselves oppose gay marriage for this same reason. People aren’t out in large numbers attacking homosexuals or keeping them from work or from buying homes. It is not about bigotry. Homosexuals as a group are some of the most privileged people in the country.

    So, I for one believe Marrs’ statement is fair game. he’s pointing out that a major funder of Waddell’s is a promoter of homosexual rights. There’s nothing at all bigoted about that. It’s no different than pointing out that the NRA is a supporter of a particular candidate.

  14. Will Vehrs Avatar
    Will Vehrs

    I’m rethinking this a just little bit in light of Salt Lick’s comment.

    The problem with this for me is the word “homosexual” attached to “wealthy businessman.” I know that my hackles were raised when certain bloggers pointed to “homosexual” staffers working for Republicans. One’s sexual preference shouldn’t define them. I find “outing” a pernicious practice. A staffer is a staffer; a wealthy businessman is a wealthy businessman. Either could be a liberal or a conservative. No one calls anyone a “wealthy cad and businessman.”

    I think Marrs would have been on solid ground if he just criticized her for accepting donations from a “wealthy businessman with a record of supporting ‘liberal/anti-family/whatever’ causes.” Adding “homosexual” just gave it a bigoted slant, intended or not, and I can’t believe there wasn’t a conscious decision made to use this word for its potential to incite fundraisig.

    Now, remember, this is coming from a guy who has lived in Richmond for nine years, bought a truck from this businessman’s Nissan dealership, but had never known or even heard of the businessman’s sexual orientation.

    That said, had Marrs used a different formulation, I’m sure he still would have been attacked by those who purport to know the businessman’s orientation. It would have been called “a not so subtle appeal to homophobia,” just like Kilgore’s recent comment about students not getting into Virginia colleges was branded “racist.”

  15. Anonymous Avatar

    Take a look at who this “Homosexual businessman” has donated to this year. There are several prominent Republicans on his donor list (Hargrove, Orrock, Parris, and Watkins) from If Marrs had taken the time to look, he would have known that. It’s clear he’s playing on hate and bigotry because this donor is no gay-rights activist. If he were, I doubt he’d be giving thousands of dollars to the Delegates listed above.

  16. James Young Avatar
    James Young

    I know it’s terribly fashionable to criticize people who defend vigorously the standard of 5000 years of civilized society on the issue of homosexuality (what’s next, anti-bestial bigotry?), but salt lick’s comments are closest to the truth. And to add one point, why aren’t people screaming about Marrs’ class envy and anti-capitalist bigotry? After all, he played the “wealthy businessman” card in his formulation, too. Or is anti-capitalist bigotry just as fashionable as inaccurately screaming “Bigotry!” — which is judging people by things beyond their control, not by behavior, i.e., sexual behavior — every time someone pushes back against the radical homosexual agenda.

  17. Anonymous Avatar

    Homosexuality has been around ever since the dawn of time (ancient Greece, Rome, ect), but let’s not get into that.

    This man was attacked because he was gay. He’s not pushing a gay rights agenda (again, look at who he has donated to this year). This man is someone who is supporting Katherine Waddell and happens to be gay. The fact that Marrs is using this issue, rather than issues that are important to Virginia’s daily lives (taxes, education, transportation) just shows how out of touch he is. Why don’t you run on your record Brad instead of attacking your opponent who hasn’t attacked you???

  18. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Getting back to Salt Lick’s post: “These people give money for a reason, don’t they?”

    Implicit in that statement is the notion that Pence gave money to Waddell because she favored his gay-rights agenda, or because he thought be might influence her to favor his gay-rights agenda. That may, in fact, be the case. But, then, it may not be. The fact is, we don’t have enough information to make such an assertion one way or another. Marrs certainly provides no supporting data; he just tosses out the insinuation and lets people conclude what they will.

    Waddell refused to answer Schapiro’s questions regarding her stance on gay issues. Certainly, there’s a possibility, given her liberal/moderate/whateveryouwanttocallit position on abortion, she might also have liberal/moderate views on gays. But that’s only a possibility. Is it legitimate to ask what her views on those issues are? Certainly. Do we have the right to assume what her views are? No, we do not.

    As for Pence, we know three things about him: He’s gay, he’s an auto dealer, and he makes enough money that he can afford to give $10,000 to a candidate. Do we assume that his gayness defines him, that the only reason he gives money is to advance a gay agenda? Or do we deem it possible, given the lack of concrete information otherwise, that he might appreciate Waddell’s views on fiscal and economic development issues? My hunch is that he was considering the whole package — Waddell as a small-government conservative in both the fiscal and social arenas — in giving her money. But that’s just a hunch, not a certainty.

    The one thing we can say with some certainty is that Marrs was making a lot of assumptions, or encouraging his readers to make those assumptions, about why a “homosexual” businessman would donate money. I’m sorry, but in an area as emotionally laden as gay/homosexual rights, I don’t think it’s fair to assume anything about anybody.

  19. Walt Ball Avatar
    Walt Ball

    I know Katherine Waddell and she is a country club snob who has never experienced an honest days work in her life. I’ll never forget the time she showed up to Shadplanking for John Hager (she was his scheduler back then…big surprise)dressed like she was attending the Foxfield horse races in Charlottesville. Waddell is everything that is sick in our party. I’m glad to hear she left. She is Pro-Abortion used to fit in perfectly with the Virginia Federation of Republican Women (the state’s largest collection of clucking hens who do nothing collectively) Katherine: when you get spanked on election day…a lot of us will be smiling, and you, well, you’ll go back to your afternoon country club teas. Bon Voyage!

  20. Waldo Jaquith Avatar
    Waldo Jaquith

    Jim, you cut right to the heart of the matter with this:

    Implicit in that statement is the notion that Pence gave money to Waddell because she favored his gay-rights agenda, or because he thought be might influence her to favor his gay-rights agenda. That may, in fact, be the case. But, then, it may not be. The fact is, we don’t have enough information to make such an assertion one way or another. Marrs certainly provides no supporting data; he just tosses out the insinuation and lets people conclude what they will.

    “Homosexual” is not a defining characteristic, at least for nearly any of my gay friends, any more than “heterosexual” is a defining characteristic for me. I don’t introduce myself to people by pointing out that I’m straight. I don’t give to candidate in order to promote my radical heterosexual agenda. And nobody would presume that my meager contributions to candidates are on that basis. I can’t see why it should be any different for gays.

  21. Anonymous Avatar

    I’m sure she’s pro-abortion. I know everyone who is pro-choice wants as many abortions as possible! (insert sarcasm here).

    Are you sure your name isn’t Brad Marrs? This was written like his letter to his supporters!!!

  22. Anonymous Avatar

    Read Waddell’s Web page. While she doesn’t come out and say it directly it screams “I’m pro-abortion, I’m pro-gay rights, I’m for the NEA and for pouring more money into government schools”.

    As for the claim she is not attacking her oppononent, look at her web-page again. She doesn’t use the name Marrs, but if you put that word in every time you read “status-quo”, you get the idea…

  23. Salt Lick Avatar
    Salt Lick

    As I said, I don’t know the candidates or context, but if Mr. Pence is indeed active in “Equality Virginia” (whatever that is), it seems something voters should know. On second thought, Jim, I can see how Will may have hit the nail on the head — you might be focusing on the word “homosexual” in Marrs’ message and that can sound infammatory. Maybe if Marrs’ had left out that word, you’d have no problem with his mentioning Waddell had received 10,000 dollars from someone active in “Equality Virginia, an organization pushing gay/homosexual rights?”

    FWIW, in the last election cycle the Republican challenger of my congressman sent out flyers asking “Is —- leading a double life?” The surface message of the flyer was the congressman acted one way in Washington and the opposite in his home district. The undercurrent was meant to nudge, nudge wink, wink on rumors that have been around a long time. I found that campaign technique disgusting.

    Just as Will said, I wouldn’t have felt that way about a flyer mentioning large contributions from businessmen active in promoting “gay equality.”

  24. The Jaded JD Avatar
    The Jaded JD

    “I don’t give to candidate [sic] in order to promote my radical heterosexual agenda.” I always knew Mr. Jaquith had a radical heterosexual agenda.

    It sure seems like Delegate Marrs is scared to death of Panny Rhodes’s ghost.

  25. Chris Porter Avatar
    Chris Porter

    I know that this isn’t germane per se, but anyone who thinks that “homosexuals” are exerting more undue influence in the political process than is the plantiffs’ bar just isn’t paying attention.

    Marrs has taken more than $20K. But it’s not just him. You can figure out who is on Courts of Justice just by looking at the plaintiffs’ bar money.

  26. Not Larry Sabato Avatar
    Not Larry Sabato

    I’m taking a second look at this race now.

  27. Waldo Jaquith Avatar
    Waldo Jaquith

    Maybe if Marrs’ had left out that word, you’d have no problem with his mentioning Waddell had received 10,000 dollars from someone active in “Equality Virginia, an organization pushing gay/homosexual rights?”

    I gotta tell you, I really don’t think that I would have a problem with that. I mean, I think it’d be lame, but I don’t think it would actually be offensive. I could see a candidate attacking their opponent for taking money from somebody active with the NAACP — if that were racist, it would at least be in a roundabout way, which is what passes for civilized these days. ๐Ÿ™‚ But a candidate attacking somebody for being black, OTOH, would obviously be out of line.

  28. Of course you’d say that, Waldo, but we already know about your agenda. So your credibility is shot.


  29. James Young Avatar
    James Young

    Anon 3:48 makes a good second point which could make me re-think the validity of this attack, i.e., if this donor is not pushing the radical homosexual agenda, and keeps his private life private, then I would find it at least distasteful to “out” him like this. I think Jim’s 4:12 post (and Waldo’s, too, though you don’t need to tell your friends that we agree, Waldo ;-)) makes this point, too. As to Anon’s first point, murder has also been around since the dawn of time, but no one is suggesting that we legitimate it as a “valid lifestyle choice” … at least, not yet.

    As for Salt Lick 5:05’s post, I would agree with his disgust, unless the Congressman in question was the guy in the 2d District who WAS leading a secret double life.

  30. Anonymous Avatar

    As long they keep their affairs nice and quiet, I’ve noticed that Republicans don’t seem to care very much about “5000 years of civilized society” either. Heck, they’ll even help cover up for the discreet homosexual politician or donor on their team, even if their possible disasterous outing threatens other Republicans on the ticket. Money talks, power walks, and when it comes down to it, the Republican party in Virginia is no tougher on the issue except on meaningless rhetoric.

  31. James Young Avatar
    James Young

    I’m torn between asking Anon 11:32 “And your point is?” and noting that he or she gets the point!!! At least in the first two sentences. I don’t know of any Republicans, even those like much-maligned Bob Marshall and Dick Black, who are advocating and/or are anxious to go on some kind of “crusade” against homosexuals, even though the public health implications of the AIDS epidemic could be cited as an argument in favor of such actions (not that I’m advocating that course). But sure ’nuff: they’re accused of it when they merely defend traditional values against those crusading for the radical homosexual agenda.

    However, Anon 11:32 goes astray in the last sentence, a comment which seems particularly ironic in light of those — many Democrats and some Republicans — who take positions which seem to have no root in any particular principle. You know: as opposed to those damned ideologues!

    There are plenty of protections for homosexuals who do keep their private affairs, after all; the Fourth Amendment right to freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures comes to mind. Even Mr. Hardwick, the eponymous gentleman involved in the 1986 Supreme Court case, would never have been arrested had the police not been validly serving a valid warrant. But those who condemn the actions of those in the GOP who defend traditional morality should at least have the intellectual honesty to concede that their “bedroom police” rhetoric doesn’t reflect reality. “Pastor John” was a parody, and more than most parodies, it slandered its targets.

    Of course, slander is so much easier than actually dealing with your opponent’s arguments, particularly when you’re swimming upstream against the standards of 5000 years of civilized society.

  32. The Jaded JD Avatar
    The Jaded JD

    One wonders how “civilized” is defined. Setting aside Imperial Rome, one would expect the Republic and the Athenian democracy to at least pass for civilization. In fact, if one intends to go back 5000 years, one seems hard pressed to justify excluding them.

    The eponymous Mr. Lawrence and his . . . paramour . . . were conducting themselves in the privacy of a bedroom when police suddenly burst in on them. There was no warrant. Police were responding to a non-anonymous tip, thereby acting with probable cause. Most people would have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their bedrooms, with a consenting adult partner, while engaging in a non-commercial interaction. That reasonable expectation of privacy should not be subject to the approval of one’s next door neighbor.

    African American women, not gay men, are the demographic in which HIV is growing fastest. I defy you to use HIV-spread among that demographic to embark on a crusade against them, particularly in the South.

  33. Lovell Reiley Avatar
    Lovell Reiley

    The question that I want to ask is whether the following companies, firms, people (and the others on his contributor list, really want to appear to “endorse” Marrs and his views by being listed as contributors to his campaign:

    Allen Allen and Allen
    Hirschler Fleisher
    Reed Smith
    Virginia Association of Auto Dealers (after all Pence is a member)
    Virginia Association of Trial Lawyers
    Hunton and Williams
    Pearson Companies
    Joel Beiber
    Home Builders of Virginia
    Breit Drescher
    Kemper Consulting
    etc etc
    If not, I guess that they should ask for their money back….

  34. IanLittle Avatar

    There is no question the phrasing by Marrs is intentional. This is a GOTV move to motivate the conservative base of the local GOP, those who are needed to win for Republicans in low voter turnout elections, primaries or close elections. Others have suggested that perhaps a consultant wrote these words. If they did not, they were certainly reviewed and approved, perhaps even improved upon. There is no doubt in my mind that you will find copies of this communication in email form to gun owners, anti-abortionists, and pro-traditional family listserves. Check the parking lots of churches weeks before the election and you might find it on windshields.
    Classic rally of the base.

  35. […] the whisper campaign against Mary Sue Terry in 1993, or the late in the game gay bashing from the Brad Marrs campaign in 2005. Or the race card played in 1989, or the car tax. Or all those anti-abortion position […]

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