California Democrat Bryan Caforio said the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando “served as a painful reminder for so many of us across the nation that marriage equality was not the end of our fight for equality.”
But, for his campaign, the tragedy also served as a peg to raise money for his race against against Republican Rep. Steve Knight.
In an email signed by Zack Carroll, Caforio’s finance director, his campaign asked for contributions from $3 to $250, “to help us overcome this demeaning rhetoric, and replace it with love and inclusion.”
“Although Steve Knight has never physically harmed me, my partner, our friends, or our community, his actions and words have harmed us significantly,” the campaign wrote. “Now more than ever, we know that we must do all that we can to get Steve Knight and his extremist friends out of leadership positions.”
Caforio’s campaign is not the first to try to raise money following a tragedy.
In April, Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican, sent an email in which he sent voters to a fundraising page from a petition about the scandals that have plagued Veterans Affairs hospitals. In February, a number of Democrats sent fundraising pitches asking for support of their campaigns at the height of public attention on the Flint water crisis.
To the Caforio campaign’s point, Knight was one of the 30 Republicans who opposed a measure in April that would have made one of President Obama’s executive orders banning federal contractors from discriminating based on sexual orientation law, after supporting something similar a year earlier.
California’s 25th District, where Caforio is challenging Knight, is a top target of Democrats hoping to flip seats from red to blue this cycle.