GOP Condemns Senate Ad Calling Frontrunner Gay

(CBS)
The Republican Party is shunning a perennial political candidate, this time running for an Illinois Senate seat, after he launched a political attack ad questioning the sexuality of his main Republican primary opponent.

Candidate Andy Martin launched a radio ad on Monday against Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), the current frontrunner for the GOP nomination in the 2010 Illinois Senate race. The ad calls into question Kirk's sexuality. Martin claims Kirk "lives in some kind of 'Animal House' in Washington with another gay congressman," reports CBS 2 Chicago.

Martin says his ad is based on a "solid rumor on the Internet," CBS 2 reports. The attack is the latest of many over-the-top claims from Martin, yet WBBM Newsradio 780 is required to run the ad because it cannot censor political advertising.

The Illinois Republican Party released a statement condemning Martin and his ad.

"His statements today are consistent with his history of bizarre behavior and often times hate-filled speech, which has no place in the Illinois Republican Party," the statement said. "Mr. Martin will no longer be recognized as a legitimate Republican Candidate by the Illinois Republican Party."

Martin, who has run for political office several times, was convicted of attacking two photographers in Florida, CBS 2 Chicago reports, and was denied admission to the Illinois Bar for "moderately severe character defect." He reportedly once ran for Congress to "eliminate Jew power in America."

In a bid for the presidency in 1999, Martin ran a television ad in New Hampshire contending that his opponent George W. Bush "had a cocaine problem" and suffered from "alcohol abuse," the Chicago Tribune reports. He also reportedly attacked Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election, claiming he is a Muslim and questioning whether he is a U.S. citizen.

Kirk's office released a statement calling Martin's claims "untrue and demeaning to the political process," CBS 2 reports. Jacob Meister, an openly gay candidate for the Democratic Senate nomination reportedly called the ad reminiscent of McCarthy-era tactics and said it could damage Kirk's military career. Kirk is on active duty as a Naval Intelligence officer.