CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Charleston City Paper is reporting what might be the first documented case of possible gay baiting by incumbent Republican Rep. Henry Brown (R-01). He’s facing a down to the wire challenge for his U.S. House seat from Democratic candidate Linda Ketner.

Both campaigns have until now steered clear of many mentions of Ketner’s sexual orientation. A lesbian, Ketner has been an instrumental organizer in the Charleston LGBT community.

Kathy Crawford, an employee in Brown’s congressional office, sent an email to members of the Charleston School of Law Law Republicans in which she suggested members distribute copies of a recent Charleston City Paper to members of the local media and to churches. The City Paper issue featured a cover story on the 10th anniversary of the Alliance for Full Acceptance, an LGBT education and advocacy group Ketner helped found. Ketner is also profiled elsewhere in the issue.

Crawford has since denied she sent the message herself, saying the suggestion was sent to her by a friend. When she forwarded the email, she accidently forwarded the suggestion to distribute copies of the paper.

The Brown campaign also issued a statement: “As Associated Press noted last week, the Brown campaign has not raised the issue of Ms.Ketner’s lifestyle choices, nor will we. The City Paper last week raising the issue of “LGBT involvement in election-year politics” was the first mention I am aware of in the local media; however, the Post and Courier also mentioned the issue that same weekend. I suspect volunteers may have further disseminated these media accounts, but neither Henry Brown nor anyone authorized to speak for the campaign has mentioned her sexual preferences as a campaign issue.”

Further reading:
See original Charleston City Paper story

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.