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Scandalous pix posted of Mary Bono Mack

An online publication has posted pictures that show U.S. Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., in a compromising position with another woman.

In the pictures posted by Radar Online, Mack is having her breasts licked by Edra Blixseth, a major Bono campaign donor and former billionaire who is currently under investigation for fraud by the FBI. The photos allegedly were taken during an event at Blixseth’s $75-million estate in Rancho Mirage four years ago.

Radar Online’s sources said Mack “was blitzed and clearly having a great time” at the function.

Julie Bornstein, Mack’s 2008 congressional challenger, said the congresswoman’s partying ways are well known in both California and Washington.

“Several women in the California Congressional delegation were embarrassed repeatedly by Mary Bono’s behavior and conduct in the Capitol and encouraged me to run because of the embarrassment she brought to the legislature,” Bornstein told Radar Online.

Mack is the widow of the late Sonny Bono, who was elected to Congress in 1995. She took over Bono’s seat after he was killed in a Nevada ski accident in 1998.

In November, Mack won her re-election bid over Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet, who is openly gay.

Gay candidates score at the polls

 

Today, three of the 435 members of Congress are openly gay. That number will increase by one in January, when a new House of Representatives is sworn in and seated in the capitol.

On Nov. 2, Rhode Island voters elected openly gay Providence Mayor David Cicilline, D, to Congress, keeping the seat held by Patrick J. Kennedy in the Democratic fold.

Also on Election Day, voters in her Wisconsin district elected to send lesbian U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D, back to D.C. Voters also re-elected openly gay Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Jared Polis, D-Colo.

However, Democrat Steve Pougnet, openly gay mayor of Palm Springs, Calif., lost his bid to unseat Republican Mary Bono Mack. The race went 52 percent for Bono Mack, 41 percent for Pougnet.

Baldwin faced Republican Chad Lee and, according to unofficial results, won with 62 percent of the vote.

Polis also had an easy win. He faced three opponents – Republican Stephen Bailey, Constitution Party nominee Jenna Goss and Libertarian Curtis Harris – but none were serious contenders. Polis received 56 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns.

Frank, though one of the more powerful and prominent members of Congress, faced a tough challenge from Republican Sean Bielat, a Tea Party favorite who amassed a hefty war chest for his campaign. A third candidate on the ballot was Tax Revolt Independent Don Jordan.

In the final month of the campaign, the Democratic Party dispatched some help to Massachusetts, including the crowd-pleasing Bill Clinton, and Frank, a member of the House since 1981, survived a fight for another term, winning with 54 percent of the vote.

“Barney Frank is nothing if not a fighter, and we’re very happy he will return to the House and continue to fight for the people of Massachusetts and for all LGBT Americans. Nobody has worked harder or longer in the U.S. Congress for fairness and equality for the LGBT community,” said Chuck Wolfe, president of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.

In Rhode Island, President Barack Obama helped rally support for Cicilline, whose Facebook page the morning after the election contained congratulations from “friends” around the world.

Wolfe said Cicilline “will be a strong advocate for all Rhode Islanders, but he will also be an authentic voice for the millions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans who long for the day when we will be treated equally under law.”

In California, Bono Mack campaigned with an endorsement from the Log Cabin Republicans while Pougnet went into the race with the backing of many other LGBT groups, including the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.

The victory fund, which helps train openly gay candidates for office in addition to assisting with campaign fundraising, endorsed 164 candidates in the midterm election cycle.

On VF’s list of top races:

Democrat Marcus Brandon won his race for North Carolina representative and will become one of five openly LGBT officeholders serving in state legislatures.

Democrat Jim Gray won his race for mayor in Lexington, Ky., defeating incumbent Jim Newberry. “This is a tremendous victory for Lexington, for Kentucky’s LGBT community and for fairness,” Wolfe said. “We are proud of Jim Gray and his fantastic campaign staff who fought hard for this win.”

Republican Dan Hill lost a close race for Nevada State Assembly.

Democrat Laurie Jinkins won her race for Washington State representative.

Demorat Aaron Kampfe lost his race for Montana state senator.

Democrat Victoria Kolakowski won her race for Alameda County, Calif., superior court judge.

Gay candidates for Congress draw interest, hope

Laure Rondeau, an 82-year-old Catholic, supports Providence, R.I., Mayor David Cicilline for Congress because he wants to get the troops out of Afghanistan and says Washington is losing sight of what’s happening to regular people.

The sexual orientation of the openly gay mayor doesn’t figure into her decision.

“That doesn’t bother me at all,” Rondeau says. “He’s been a good mayor of Providence, and I think he’d do well in Congress.”

Just three of the 535 members of Congress are openly gay, but two candidates hope to inch that number up to five this year: Cicilline, who is running to succeed fellow Democrat Patrick Kennedy, and Democrat Steve Pougnet, who’s trying to knock Republican Mary Bono Mack out of her seat in California.

The races have drawn interest from gay advocacy groups, which are excited about two candidates who could help push for legislation to institute hate crime protections, prevent discrimination and advocate for same-sex marriage rights.

“There are so few people on the Hill who can speak authentically about what these things mean in their own lives,” said Denis Dison, spokesman for the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, a group that works to elect LGBT politicians. “We are vastly underrepresented.”

Gay marriage is not the flashpoint in this midterm election that it has been in the past. There are no statewide ballot measures on gay marriage this November, and polls have shown a growing acceptance of same-sex unions. Five states now allow gay marriage, including Rhode Island’s neighbors Massachusetts and Connecticut.

That has bolstered the hopes of advocates, who would like to see the number of openly gay members of Congress increase.

The Victory Fund and the Human Rights Campaign have poured money into both races. The California seat has also been targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red to Blue” program as one of the seats it sees as having the best chances of moving from Republican to Democrat, although analysts say it could still be tough in what’s expected to be a Republican year.

The three openly gay members are all in the House: Barney Frank of Massachusetts, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Jared Polis of Colorado. Polis said gay candidates must show they’re looking out for everybody, the way Barack Obama did when he ran for president.

“He didn’t win by being known as the black candidate. He won by being known as the candidate for all Americans,” Polis said.

In Rhode Island, Cicilline was the best known and best-funded candidate in the Sept. 14 four-way Democratic primary, having raised more than $1.3 million, about three times the amount of the nearest Democratic rival and of the leading Republican.

He had about $450,000 in his account as of August, according to federal filings, after going on a TV ad spending spree with commercials on seniors and jobs – an important issue in Rhode Island, which had the fourth-worst unemployment rate in the country in July at 11.9 percent. The Republican candidate, state Rep. John Loughlin, had just $67,000 in his campaign account. There have been no reliable polls in the race.

Cicilline, who is single, has been attacked by his opponents, but for his record as mayor, not his personal life.

“People are really focused on the issues that are important in their own lives, and what they think the individuals running for Congress can do to respond to the urgent challenges that their families are facing,” Cicilline said in an interview. “I think the sexual orientation of candidates in this race, including mine, have been irrelevant to voters, and I think that’s progress.”

Both Cicilline and Pougnet support legalizing same-sex marriage. Pougnet married his longtime partner in 2008, after same-sex marriage was legalized in California but before it was banned by the ballot initiative Proposition 8.

Since 2007, he’s been mayor of Palm Springs, which has a large gay population, and he’s mounting the most serious challenge yet to Bono Mack, who has for 12 years represented the 45th District in California’s Inland Empire, a huge district that stretches from the Arizona border nearly to Los Angeles.

Pougnet had raised more than $1.2 million as of the end of June to Bono Mack’s $1.7 million. Pougnet’s first TV ad says Bono Mack “isn’t getting the job done” on bread-and-butter issues such as jobs and foreclosures.

Bono Mack has rankled members of the gay community for not opposing Proposition 8 and for voting against the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military. Her campaign manager Ryan Mahoney says she supports leaving gay marriage up to the states and touts the support of groups such as the Log Cabin Republicans.

Jack Pitney, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College in California, said the district has become more Democratic in recent years and Obama carried it in 2008, but otherwise vulnerable Republicans like Bono Mack may be OK in a year expected to be a good one for Republicans.