Pro-gay marriage GOP outsider hopes to shake up race to unseat Mark Udall in Colorado

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Greg Campbell Contributor
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Another contender appears in the Colorado Senate race: Jaime McMillan rounds out the field of four Republicans who hope to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.

McMillan will compete for the nomination with current frontrunner Ken Buck, who lost a 2010 Senate bid to unseat Sen. Michael Bennet; state Sen. Randy Baumgardner; and state Sen. Owen Hill.

On a campaign website filled with references to former presidents Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln, McMillan paints himself as a fiscally responsible conservative with strong feelings about personal liberty and civil rights.

He writes that his background as an investment advisory will help him reduce the size of government while ensuring it makes sound investments in infrastructure. He supports reducing corporate taxes to enhance our economy’s global competitiveness and wants to reduce U.S. overseas military interventions in civil wars to avoid becoming “the world’s policeman.”

But he also boasts about his “socially responsive” streak. McMillan supports the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”  (which has already become law) and the Defense of Marriage Act — his 92-year-old grandfather, a World War II veteran, is openly gay, he writes. McMillan also favors gay marriage.

“There are some in my party who believe that civil unions are the same thing as marriage and that if we simply give gay people all of the same rights that marriage enables, it should be good enough,” he writes. “I am here to tell you that separate but equal is never equal. Civil unions are NOT the same as marriage.”

He’s also pro-choice and supports a path to citizenship for the country’s illegal immigrants.

“Republicans need to recognize that the social fabric of America has changed,” he said in an interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation. “And if we’re going to be successful winning general elections, in this Senate race in particular, we really have to answer those questions that are important to our time today, which are immigration, the rights of the LGBT community and the rights of women.”

Despite never having held office, McMillan said he’s aiming high because he thinks the Senate is the best place to get things done. A relative newcomer to Colorado — he moved to Durango just three years ago to open his own business — he said he’s more interested in federal than state issues.

“To me, I really wanted to give a sort of long-term contract, if you will,” he said, rather than constantly run for reelection as House members do.

McMillan’s focus is on “kitchen table” issues that are most important to Americans, like the economy and balancing the budget. He said Colorado is a good reflection of the changing social landscape in America and believes his brand of Republicanism will resonate with voters who are tired of single-issue candidates.

“If we hold on and play single issue politics, [in which] Democrats and independents aren’t going to vote for Republicans based on some of these issues like immigration, where we lost a lot of Hispanic voters,” Republicans are going to struggle to widen their appeal, he said.

“They can stay in this continuation of what they think are core conservative principles, but in a lot of ways they’re risking winning elections to actually employ their principles of limited government, individual rights and economic freedom,” he said.

“I think it’s time the party recognized the social fabric has changed,” he continued. “I think [Colorado] is a place … where someone like myself, who is not an establishment candidate, [or part of] the good old boy network if you will, just a regular average guy, could be successful, particularly in a general election.”

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.