Andy Pugno, self-described Proposition 8 author, always struck me as the true believer among the legal team in Judge Vaughn Walker’s courtroom during the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial (see all of FDL’s Prop 8 coverage here). Some days, Charles Cooper and other members of his team looked beat, after a dose of David Boies’ cross-examination or Ted Olson’s remarks. Not everyone on the team looked like they thought they were winning, or even making very sensible arguments.
But you could always count on Andy to provide a surreal summary during press time after court — things were going wonderfully, the withdrawal of all but one expert was a masterful legal strategy, the Plaintiffs hadn’t made their case, the Judge’s questions showed how convincing the Defendant-Intervenors’ case was — despite their lack of evidence, absent credible witnesses, or expert testimony unfortunately ended up actually making the other side’s case, and used by Olson in his closing.
Never fazed Andy Pugno.
In Andy Pugno’s view, the voters of the state of California had spoken, even if narrowly: traditional marriage between one man and one woman was the law. Lesbian and gay couples’ civil rights had been snatched away at the ballot box, but — hey, majority rule, that’s democracy, gotta take your lumps.
Now, a slice of the California electorate is going to have its say about Andy Pugno himself — he’s running for a once-solidly GOP seat in the state Assembly. And the Sacramento Stonewall Democrats are having none of it: they’ve launched a website www.StopAndrewPugno.com in order to drum up national as well as local awareness about Andy’s views, career, and history. Pugno’s using the national ProtectMarriage.com email list to raise money and recruit supporters, and the LGBT Democratic Club has decided to fight back.
“We’re certainly not excited to see Pugno on the ballot but it was completely expected,” said Stonewall President Chris Moore, the creator of the website. Moore is also the new deputy director of political affairs for Equality California.
“It’s going to be a difficult race no matter who you are, because the registration in the district is neck and neck,” Moore told the Bay Area Reporter. “It’s been trending Democratic and it’s at a tipping point.”
At the “Who is Pugno” section of the website, you’ll learn that, since graduating from college, Andy Pugno has worked on one issue and one issue only: denying gay and lesbian Californians their civil rights. He’s a dangerous man, and it’s great to see some sunshine on his tawdry career.
Currently represented by a termed-out GOP, the district (AD5, encompassing the suburban Sacramento localities of Fair Oaks and Folsom) went for Barack Obama in 2008. So it’s pretty swing-y. And Andy just moved there — he’s a carpetbagger and a homophobe!
Pugno, who already has tapped into the Proposition 8 supporter base to finance his run, has a large campaign war chest, including a $100,000 loan he gave the campaign.
“With such a polarizing figure as Pugno, who knows who will be showing up,” to volunteer and contribute, Moore told the B.A.R. “Every day that passes is another day that we need to be working to make sure he’s not elected here [in the Sacramento area], and it takes money to do that.”
Andy Pugno made a point to come off the post-Closing Arguments stage and say to me in the front row at the press conference, “We’re watching you.” I replied, “Hey, Marcy, it’s the bees and birds guy!”
Back atcha, Andrew. We (and the Stonewall Democrats) will keep an eye on you, too.