GOP candidate: We lost on social issues

Dead GOPFrom the Arizona Daily Star:

Where to go now is the big debate.

Candidates who run strong on social issues are trying to energize the partys base but theyre alienating everyone else, said Frank Antenori, a Republican who ran in the 8th District congressional primary, losing to Randy Graf, who in turn went on to lose to Democrat Gabrielle Giffords in the general election.

A hawk on security but one whos wary of excessive federal government, Antenori said he tried to persuade some GOP candidates in the general election to tone down the talk on gay marriage and abortion. Antenori has said he personally opposes those things but would not seek to make them illegal.
Why are we talking about gay marriage? said Antenori, an Army retiree who is considering another run for office. Were at war. We have an immigration problem. Whats the No. 1 priority?

In the 8th Congressional District, polling has found that a majority of Republicans consider themselves pro-abortion rights, and Democratic and Republican voters have said they are willing to cross over and vote for the opposite party.

I think its very, very important for Republicans to pick people who can win in the general election, said Matt Salmon, outgoing state GOP chairman. I have lots of respect for the candidates who ran. But Jim Kolbe represented (District 8) for years and years and years, and I believe someone who was more in touch with his ideology would have been better.

Still, some local officials say they are afraid to say publicly that the party must moderate itself — particularly in the 8th District — because of potential criticisms.

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