March 28, 2017 at 11:54 am PDT | by Chris Johnson
Gay candidate launches bid for Texas congressional seat
John W. Duncan, gay news, Washington Blade

John W. Duncan has launched a bid to run for Texas congressional seat. (Photo courtesy John W. Duncan Campaign)

A gay HIV/AIDS activist has launched a bid for a Texas congressional seat currently held by a 16-term Republican member of Congress who recently gained notoriety for instructing a constituent to “shut up” during a town hall meeting.

Currently the compliance officer at Prism Health North Texas, the largest non-profit HIV/AIDS service organization in the area, Duncan declared in a statement Monday his intention to seek the Democratic nomination to run for the seat representing Texas’ 6th congressional district.

“I’m excited to begin the campaign and meet the voters of the 6th Congressional District,” Duncan said. “I am committed to representing the people of Texas with a vision of progress. I will utilize my constituents’ experiences, hopes, and concerns to be a compassionate leader who seeks change and expects results.”

Duncan bills himself on his campaign website as an advocate “for the rights of the most vulnerable.” The candidates says he has been a vocal supporter for marriage equality and reproductive rights as well as efforts to “eliminate the racial and economic injustices so rampant in our world.” Duncan identifies “as a lifelong Christian,” which he says “has influenced the way I understand immigration reform and refugees.”

“In addition to representing the people, I commit to protecting health care and making it more affordable, improving our public schools and enacting comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to legal status,” Duncan said in a statement.

Duncan faces significant odds in defeating the Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), a 32-year incumbent who currently holds the seat in the safe Republican district. Last year, Barton won the race with 58.3 percent of the vote compared to the 39 percent won by Democrat Ruby Fay Woolridge.

Weeks ago as the town halls of Republican members of Congress were filled with opponents of Obamacare repeal, Barton became irate with constituents who pressed him to support legislation to combat violence against women, telling one questioner, “You, sir, shut up.”

Duncan’s campaign is set to kick off formally kick April 11 at J Gilligan’s Bar & Grill in Arlington, Texas. It remains to be seen if other candidates will enter the race. In the previous cycle, the candidate filing deadline was Dec. 14 and the primary was March 1, but nothing has been set for the current cycle.

According to his campaign website, Duncan lives in Arlington, Texas with his husband, Tim, who’s a Christian minister, and their two rescue dogs, Dolce and Makea.

Here is the link to the Duncan for Congress campaign website.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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