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Log Cabin Republicans Meet in Land of Lincoln

Gay, Lesbian Republicans Discuss Strategy in Chicago
CHICAGO, July 20, 2001 --This weekend, the Log Cabin Republicans, a national association of gay, lesbian and bisexual GOP members, is meeting here, setting a media and marketing strategy for its efforts in support of the Party in next year’s crucial Congressional elections. Representatives of 50 or more local and state gay Republican organizations -- approximately 150 people in all -- are converging on the Sofitel Hotel in downtown Chicago for three days and nights of closed session meetings and public conference and convention activities.
“This is our 12th annual convention,” says Kevin Ivers, director of public affairs for the Washington, D.C.-based group. “It’s been held in different cities every year -- but this is our second time in Chicago. Our very first convention was held in 1990 here. This is the annual meeting of our state and local leaders from around the country.”
The convention starts Friday evening, and focuses on the “Strategy 2002 Program” of the Log Cabin group, which includes media, marketing and party building efforts. “The strategy sessions are our opportunity to being work on what our game plan is going to be for the 2002 elections,” said Ivers. “We’ll have a fairly wide scope of discussions: the races we’ll be working on, the issues we’ll be working on, and the ways in which we will be working with the Party organizations on the state and local and national levels. We anticipate that the Strategy 2002 campaign will be launched this fall.”
Last fall, the group spent close to $500,000 on advertising in niche gay and lesbian publications, as well as mass market radio ads, touting George W. Bush as a compassionate conservative and someone who was “inclusive,” and not intolerant of, the gay community in the U.S.
The targeting of federal and state and local efforts -- in a concerted strategy by the group -- began in Dallas in 1998 with planning for the 2000 Presidential election. “Our main focus was to elect an inclusive Republican President and to continue building an inclusive Republican Party that included gays and lesbians,” says Ivers. “And we think that obviously Strategy 2000 was a big success. We succeeded.”
The discussions this weekend are expected to be fairly wide ranging, but they will be held in closed session, due to the confidential nature of some of the strategies, which the group does not want Democrats to co-opt.
“Everyone at the grassroots level plays in integral part in brainstorming, and feedback,” says Ivers. “It’s the beginning of the process. We will be launching it this fall, however, with a fairly public effort.”
If the effort is anything like last year’s strategy, it will be ambitious. The group targeted 30 U.S. House and Senate races, and also tried to influence the GOP platform at last summer’s Republican National Convention, held in Philadelphia The group also believes that its members were integral to the election of Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Rep. Steve Horn (R-Calif.) and Rep. Clay Shaw (R-Fla.). Moreover, Ivers says, President Bush earned more than 1 million gay and lesbian votes, and Republicans in Congress earned 1.3 million gay votes. -- votes which may have significantly influenced close elections.
“There were a lot of races which were close, and in which the gay vote played a part. We’ll be focused more on Congress and on the issues that the NRC and NRCC are concentrating on next year,” says Ivers, of the strategy emerging from meetings here in the Land of Lincoln. “We’ll be working to turn out voters in our community.”



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