Gulliver accused of anti-LGBTQ comment
SALEM — The campaign manager for GOP gubernatorial candidate Sam Carpenter in a Facebook post Saturday questioned a Republican rival's decision to hire a "LGBTQ activist" as a spokesperson.
Carpenter's campaign manager, David Gulliver's post referred to Jonathan Lockwood, a communications consultant, who serves as spokesman for Greg Wooldridge, contender for the GOP nomination for governor. Lockwood, who identifies as gay, also consults for progressive Multnomah County commissioner candidate Maria Garcia, and previously worked for GOP gubernatorial candidate Rep. Knute Buehler.
Garcia recently won an endorsement from U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, a former presidential candidate on the Democratic ticket. She has publicly supported the City of Portland's sanctuary status and serves on the city's Welcoming/Inclusion/Sanctuary Task Force.
"Cause for alarm? Jonathan Lockwood, a well-known LQBTQ activist, is the communications director for Greg Wooldridge, who is running as a Republican for governor," Gulliver wrote on the Facebook page, "Make Oregon Great Again."
"Can Mr. Wooldridge — who touts his social conservatism and is supported by Oregon Right to Life — explain to us why his communications director is raising money for a radical socialist and praising Bernie Sanders?" Gulliver continued in the post. "Is this any way to Make Oregon Great Again? We cannot support ANY candidate who has people like this on his campaign staff!
Miguel Cobian, board member of the national Human Rights Campaign, which advocates for LGBTQ rights, called on Carpenter to fire Gulliver for his "anti-LGBTQ" comments.
"Lockwood, who is not an LGBTQ activist per se, does happen to be gay, and the post raises questions about the Carpenter campaign's tactics and values," Cobian wrote in a news release Monday.
Wooldridge also issued a response to Gulliver's post.
"The Oregon I love doesn't stand for intolerance and hate, and I'm saddened that someone in this race would sink to such lows," Wooldridge wrote in a statement Monday.
Gulliver said his post was taken out of context.
"Jonathan Lockwood is putting up a victim mentality defense without responding to the actual issue of the post, which is why is he bragging about raising money for a Democrat who is against Republicans and is praising Bernie Sanders?" Gulliver said in a phone interview with Oregon Capital Insider Monday.
Gulliver said he has no "anti-gay sentiment" and has been an "outspoken advocate" for LGBTQ rights and marriage equality.
Asked why he referred to Lockwood as a "LGBTQ activist," Gulliver said he was describing Lockwood as Lockwood has described himself in social media.
State lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle condemned Gulliver's comments.
"There is ZERO tolerance in my book for this kind of attack," Rep. Bill Post, R-Keizer, tweeted Saturday. "If Sam Carpenter can't control his manager, how can he manage our state?"
Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, who in the past has clashed with Lockwood on social media, defended Lockwood Monday.
"Hateful, homophobic rhetoric has no place in Oregon campaigns," Gelser wrote in a tweet. "It doesn't matter who says it, and it does not matter at whom it is directed. Such hate should never be met with silence by any of us."
Lockwood said the response to Gulliver's attack spoke volumes.
"After the outrage in response to this attack by leaders on across the political spectrum, from Democrat Sen. Sara Gelser to Republican Rep. Bill Post, I think Sam Carpenter and David Gulliver received the message loudly and clearly that their message isn't welcome in Oregon," Lockwood said. "I'm proud to work for Capt. Wooldridge, and I appreciate his loyalty and willingness to defend his staff from baseless and intolerant attacks."