Newscom / Scott J. Ferrell
This afternoon, a group from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an organization that helps gay and lesbian servicemembers deal with the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, will come to Capitol Hill to help push more Senators to back the standalone DADT repeal bill. On their list of targets, surprisingly, is Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND).
I asked the SLDN why. They told me it was because Conrad has never made a "positive statement" backing the standalone bill. So I asked Conrad's office for a positive statement. And they declined to say anything about Conrad's position on the standalone bill, positive or negative.
This could be a big deal -- if Conrad turns out to be a no, his vote would throw off the math on the standalone bill and endanger repeal at the last second.
Conrad backed repeal of DADT when it was part of the defense spending spill that failed to achieve cloture last week. His past record shows votes against a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, for the Defense of Marriage Act, and public opposition to gay marriage. In short, he's a pretty mainline Democrat when it comes to gay rights issues.
So it's kind of weird that SLDN is targeting him -- and even weirder that his office won't say where he stands on the standalone repeal bill.
Watch this space. I'll be bringing you more on Conrad's position when I hear it.
Late Update: A Lieberman aide tells me that "we aren't counting Conrad among the 60+ votes we have for support," but "would welcome his vote."