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It may not be news when John Boehner holds a fundraiser for the Republican candidate in a tossup district. But when the candidate’s gay, it’s a big deal.

The speaker of the House is going to California this week to raise money for Carl DeMaio, one of two openly gay GOP nominees in close races this year, despite calls from leading social conservative groups for Boehner and other prominent Republicans not to support DeMaio because of his backing of gay marriage. The push is part of an effort by social conservatives like the National Organization for Marriage to place those in favor of same-sex marriage outside the pale in the Republican Party. But Boehner’s motivation for the trip isn’t that he wants to make DeMaio the first openly gay Republican elected to Congress. The 61st speaker of the House simply wants to keep his job.

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