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Congressman Chris Pappas announces engagement to boyfriend Vann Bentley

Rep. Chris Pappas and Vann Bentley
Rep. Chris Pappas and Vann Bentley

Out Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH) just announced that he’s engaged to be married to his boyfriend Vann Bentley.

“We said yes!” Pappas, 41, tweeted. “Vann and I are thrilled to share the news of our engagement and look forward to a lifetime of happiness and togetherness.”

Related: Literally every LGBTQ House member is calling for Donald Trump’s impeachment

Pappas was first elected to Congress in 2018 after former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) decided not to seek reelection. He’s the first out member of Congress from New Hampshire.

His relationship with Bentley came up during his reelection campaign last year, when his Republican opponent Matt Mowers discussed it in a debate less than two weeks before the election.

Health care advocates had accused Mowers of illegibly writing that he worked as a consultant for two pharmaceutical companies in a financial disclosure form earlier that day. Mowers lashed out at Pappas for dating Bentley, who used to be a lobbyist for Amazon.

“The fact matter is that you’ve been doing the bidding for a bunch of corporate special interests in D.C.,” Mowers said at that debate, “that you’re dating a corporate lobbyist.”

Pappas denied the allegation at the debate: “To go after me personally like this is really disgusting, Matt, and there’s no place for that on this debate stage.” After the debate, he clarified that he was, in fact, dating Bentley, but that he was angry at Mowers for “attacking my boyfriend.”

There was never an accusation that Pappas and Bentley’s relationship was illegal or violated House ethics rules.  It’s also unclear if they were even dating at the time that Bentley was working as a lobbyist.

The LGBTQ Victory Fund called Mowers’s attack a “homophobic dog whistle,” arguing that Mowers only brought up the relationship right before the election to remind voters that Pappas is gay.

Pappas ended up winning the election with 51.3% of the vote.

On Twitter, Pappas’s supporters celebrated his engagement.

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