02/27/2014 11:32 am ET Updated Feb 27, 2014

Openly Gay GOP Candidate: The Republican Party 'Did Go Astray'

Openly gay GOP congressional candidate Richard Tisei (R-Mass.) admitted Wednesday that the Republican Party has gone "astray" in recent decades.

In an interview with HuffPost Live, Tisei responded to a reader comment questioning why one would support a political party that "sees you as a second-class citizen and an abomination." He defended his affiliation with the GOP, saying that he believes in what it "traditionally stood for," while fighting for what's best for the country first.

"Most people recognize that down in Washington, love of party is more important than love of country," Tisei said. "We need leaders in Washington who are willing to put the country first and that's what I want to be able to do."

Tisei, who narrowly lost to Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) in 2012, is one of three openly gay Republicans mounting efforts against Democratic incumbents in Congress. Joining him are former business school dean Dan Innis in New Hampshire, and former San Diego city council member Carl DeMaio in California.

In a January interview with the Associated Press, Tisei stressed that the GOP needs to do more to change the perception that "we're the party that wants to deny people their rights and interfere with their personal lives."

"It would be a lot harder to take positions that discriminate against people when you have (gay) people in the room you work with on a daily basis that you like and know," Tisei said.



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