Adam Cox, the Republican opponent of Ali Brown, a bisexual Democratic candidate running for Indianapolis City Council, has posted an ad highlighting Brown’s sexuality. An email shows that one Republican leader told other GOP politicians not to discuss the ad with the media.
The ad showed an image of Brown in a t-shirt reading “The Future is Female” and says “Liberal Ali Brown endorsed by LGTBQ Victory Fund.”
Brown re-posted the ad on her personal Twitter account, stating, “My opponent thinks being a member of the LGBTQ community is a bad thing. This is why we need comprehensive hate crimes legislation.”
So another digital attack ad against me.
My opponent thinks being a member of the lgbtq community is a bad thing. This is why we need comprehensive hate crimes legislation. @VictoryFund @INStonewall @glaad pic.twitter.com/qA9YUj4fdr
— Ali Brown for Indy (@aliforindy) October 22, 2019
Although she only posted a clipped version, the full ad highlights Brown’s endorsements by other groups as well like Progressive Change, Everytown for Gun Safety, Planned Parenthood and Moms Demand Action.
Cox responded via Facebook, “My opponent is making false accusations… I don’t think it’s bad that she’s in the LGBTQ community, I just oppose her liberal views.” He also stated that he supports LGBTQ rights and a comprehensive bias crimes law.
Whether he supports her being LGBTQ or not, he obviously thought the most effective attack would be to highlight her endorsement by an LGBTQ group — that means he figured his supporters would find her affiliation with a group distasteful, no matter his supposed political stances on LGBTQ issues.
The Victory Fund itself has also responded in a tweet, writing, “We are appalled that in a major city in 2019, LGBTQ candidates like @aliforindy are still being attacked for who they are. The purpose of this ad is clear: to use Ali’s identity as a wedge issue. We condemn this ad in the strongest terms.”
It’s worth noting that the Victory Fund has supported Republican candidates too in the past.
Cox told The Indy Star, “As soon as I saw the screenshot that the ad was being misinterpreted. I immediately stopped running it because I don’t want anyone to doubt my support of the LGBTQ community.”
Via email, Indianapolis City Council Minority Leader Michael McQuille cautioned fellow Republicans from answering questions about Cox’s ad — proof, says Brown, that the ad was an anti-LGBTQ “dog whistle.”