Virginia state Sen. Janet Howell, a Democratic incumbent running for re-election to the state Senate, is allegedly “gay-baiting” Republican voters into opposing her openly gay Republican challenger Patrick Forrest. Audio recordings obtained by the Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson appear to confirm that Howell volunteers are “reaching out to conservative voters in her district to inform them of his sexual orientation in an effort to dissuade them from supporting him.” Howell, a 19-year incumbent with a strong pro-gay record, is disputing the claims.
But in the exchange below, Kavita Imarti, an intoxicated volunteer for Howell, can be heard admitting to Forrest’s field director Eric Newland that the campaign is informing conservative voters of Forrest’s sexuality and claiming that he will push a “homosexual agenda” in schools. “We’re showing your party [is]… prejudiced against someone because of their sexuality,” Imarti shouts on the recording:
NEWLAND: So you’re telling me it’s okay for the campaign to be telling people…
IMARTI: Yes! Because you guys are racist bastards. I’m sorry…We’re showing your party that you’re racist mother fuckers… That you guys are prejudiced against someone because of their sexuality. We are basically pinpointing your prejudice.
NEWLAND: So you’re telling everybody [Forrest] is gay…
IMARTI: You guys say you’re anti-gay but you have a gay candidate….We’re not attacking Patrick. We’re attacking the party that may support Patrick that never will. We know you won’t support Patrick. That’s so stupid! Why would you not support someone because of their orientation? [...]
NEWLAND: Is it okay to tell someone in the middle of the campaign — go over and tell this Christian lady that Patrick is going to be promoting a homosexual agenda in your schools?
IMARTI: YES! …
NEWLAND: And that’s coming from the campaign?
Listen to a portion of the recording: