Hiram Monserrate's Anti-Gay Strategy: Will It Work?

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The Monserrate juggernaut is rolling across the 13th District. Liz Benjamin reproduces a flyer that his people are allegedly handing around. If you don't have your glasses handy, the best part is, "At a gay fundraiser for Jose Peralta" -- Monserrate's chief opponent -- "he is affectionately called 'Peralta the gay caballero.'"

This is not meant as a compliment: The flyer goes on to characterize the "Gill Foundation" (probably meaning Tim Gill's Gill Action Fund or Fight Back NY, which are helping Peralta out) as "a group of mega rich gay fanatics dedicated to destroying our way of life and creating same sex marriage."

They left the quotes off "marriage," but you get where they're coming from: Peralta's all homo'd up, and if you vote for him you'll get some of it on you.

Monserrate has won many elections in Queens, but now he has to dig for a base. His opponent Peralta has, along with the support of the abovementioned gay folks, the backing of the Queens Democratic Party. (And the National one, it would seem: the DNC just told Monserrate to stop using their logo in his flyers.) This is a big deal 'round their way, as it brings both regular-party and union people out to campaign for Peralta. And Monserrate can't even demonize him for that: The district's working-class, so anti-ACORN scare tactics are unlikely to work there. (Beside, they already have a Republican contender.)

So, it seems, he works the homophobia instead. Could this flyer be a fake? It's a little raw, but it conforms to his strategy as we've seen it: Monserrate has accepted the aid of a gay-unfriendly prelate and he continues to defend his own anti-gay-marriage vote in the state senate as a "vote of conscience." Maybe, like Roy Ashburn, he thinks that just reflected the will of his constituency. After the March 16 special election, we guess, we'll see if it does.

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