Gay leather bar owner running for Governor of Texas
A former International Mr Leather is running for Governor of Texas as a Republican.
Millionaire businessman Jeffrey Payne announced this week that he will seek the Democtatic nomination for next year’s Texas Gubernatorial race, seeking to unseat the incumbent Republican Governor Greg Abbott.
Mr Payne is far from your usual ‘traditional values’ politician in Texas, however.
The candidate is openly gay, married to a man, and is well-known on the Dallas gay scene as the owner of famous gay leather fetish bar The Eagle.
He is also a former holder of the title International Mr. Leather, which he won in 2009.
In an announcement, he lashed out at Abbott, who has called a special session of the state legislature that is being used by Republicans in order to push anti-trans bathroom laws.
Mr Payne told the Dallas Voice: “Texas needs a governor who believes in real Texas values, like integrity, honesty, freedom and independence,” Payne said in a statement announcing his candidacy.
“It’s time we stopped wasting our time and money on silly legislation and start investing our time finding ways to help Texans, their families and businesses prosper.”
He added: “It’s time we stopped letting the Republican Party run unopposed in this state.
“We need a governor who is not a career bureaucrat, but one with real world experience and dedication to making Texas a better, safer and healthier place for all Texans.”
Mr Payne is self-funding his campaign, putting $2.5 million of his own money into his bid.
He told CBS: “If we don’t have compromise, and compassion for one another, we’re never going to reach a resolution, and we’re just going to keep talking about it and kicking the can down the road.
“I love Dallas, and I love Texas.”
Democratic Party Communications Director Tariq Thowfeek said: “The Texas Democratic Party is talking to a number of great leaders, and an announcement will come at the appropriate time.
“These Texans come from diverse backgrounds with proven track records of leadership, and an unwavering commitment to our shared Democratic values.”
He is unlikely to be in serious competition with Greg Abbott, who received a decisive 59.3% of the vote in 2014, massively ahead of Democrat Wendy Davis on 38.9%
Governor Abbott has already launched his re-election campaign.
He said: “To keep Texas the best very state in the United States, I am running for reelection as governor of the great state of Texas.”