FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Gay Republicans joined many of their straight counterparts in Florida Tuesday night in congratulating former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for his decisive victory in the Florida Republican primary.
But R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the national Log Cabin Republicans, while also congratulating Romney, cautioned him against engaging in “anti-gay pandering or divisive social politics.”
Cooper told the Blade his comment was a reference to statements Romney has made in news media interviews over the past several months in which he appeared to be appealing to conservative voters hostile to gay rights.
Officials with Log Cabin’s chapters in the Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa areas said support for Romney was strong among LGBT Republicans in the state. Romney won by a lopsided margin in a Jan. 28 straw poll of Log Cabin members at an informal gay Republican caucus in Miami.
“I’m pleased that Romney won,” said Andy Eddy, board member of Log Cabin Republicans of Broward County, which includes the city of Fort Lauderdale and the nearby gay enclave Wilton Manors.
“Many of our members support him and believe he has the best chance of beating Obama,” he said.
With 100 percent of the election precincts counted, Romney captured 46 percent of the vote. His closest rival, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich received 32 percent, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum received 13 percent, and Texas Congressman Ron Paul received 7 percent.
In Florida’s winner take all primary, Romney captured 50 delegates, giving him a boost going into a series of upcoming primaries and caucuses leading up to Super Tuesday on March 6, when 10 states hold primaries.
“This big win for Gov. Romney makes it all but certain that he will emerge as the nominee of the Republican Party,” said Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of the gay conservative group GOProud.