Peter Hort, stealth Republican candidate for Congress

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I have been meaning to write about this subject for several weeks, but today's Newsday article on Peter Hort reminded me to do it. Peter Hort is running for Congress against Jerrold Nadler, the incumbent. Nadler is one of the most liberal members of Congress, and I rarely bother to contact him on any issue, because I agree with his position on nearly everything. The only disagreement is that I think he is a bit too ready to give Israel's government the benefit of the doubt when it comes to its behavior vis-a-vis the Occupied Territories.

Peter Hort is running as a stealth Republican. His campaign literature doesn't mention it, and barely appears on his web site unless you read fine print like the mention of his appearance on WNYC. He pretends to be an "independent." New Yorkers need to realize what happens when they vote for a Republican. I don't care if he marches in the annual gay pride parade. A vote for a Republican in the House is a vote for the House leadership, unless the candidate is promising to work to defeat the current leadership. That leadership includes:

Mr. Hort's parents are contemporary art collectors, whose taste I respect, and who support very edgy artists, including ones that make sexually explicit art. How their son can be a member of a party that thinks those people should be in jail, if not worse, is beyond me. I have written to Mr. Hort's campaign to ask his position on the current GOP House leadership team.

5 TrackBacks

I should clarify a few things regarding my post yesterday about Peter Hort's campain for Congress. I do not have... Read More

The words "progressive" and "convervative" do not appear on Peter Hort's web site. However, the word "progressive" is used in... Read More

Since I last wrote about Peter Hort's campaign for Congress, I also learned about an "Arts Committee for Peter Hort... Read More

Peter Hort, Stealth Republican from c u l t u r e k i t c h e n on October 27, 2004 1:02 PM

reBlogged via NEWSgrist: I've been following some troubling blog posts regarding the campaign of Peter Hort, a native New Yorker and Republican, who is running against incumbent liberal Dem Jerrold Nadler, for Congress. Please read/refer to the follow... Read More

Peter Hort, Stealth Republican from c u l t u r e k i t c h e n on October 28, 2004 11:01 AM

[Hans Haacke Star Gazing; image source] reBlogged via NEWSgrist: I've been following some troubling blog posts regarding the campaign of Peter Hort, a native New Yorker and Republican, who is running against incumbent liberal Dem Jerrold Nadler, for C... Read More


Mr. Hoggard --

When my campaign literature was being printed, my opponents were challenging the signatures on my petitions in an attempt to kick me off the ballot before a single vote was counted. Unfortunately, it’s typical. They were successful in removing me from the Progressive Party but we survived the challenge on the Republican line. Therefore, at the time of printing we were not entirely certain which party I would be representing, but it might not have made a difference- I want to be judged by my ideas and my actions not some label.


On Education. I believe that good teachers are the key to a good education. For most of New York's history, we nurtured generations of scholars with great teachers relying on minimal equipment and inadequate facilities. Good teachers stimulate the love of learning and inspire our children. In a time of tight municipal budgets there is no room to offer the salaries that will retain and attract good teachers. To address this, I propose making public school teacher salaries federal tax-free, thereby giving them an effective 30% raise. This will show our teachers that they are appreciated and valued. I support linking school aged child tax credits to participating in parent/teacher conferences. In addition, I support smaller class sizes, meaningful standards and capital improvements to ensure safe and modern schools. Students suffer from our lack of progress in reorganizing and reforming our nation's urban schools. I will also work to make college affordable for everyone. Poverty must not be a barrier to learning and education must offer an escape from poverty.

On the Arts. Arts and Culture are important to New York. This is not only a decision made with quality of life in mind but there is an economic element. The arts are an economic engine for the region. People attend cultural attractions and their spending is then injected into the city's economy. That money creates jobs, increases tax revenue and is a proven asset to community building. Support for the arts is an inexpensive and effective way to revitalize a neighborhood. Taking abandoned space and turning it into artist’s studio space is a cheaper and more effective way to revitalize a neighborhood. To judge this idea just look at Soho or Chelsea. It's illogical public policy to cut arts funding when it helps generate revenue for other services. Arts education is good for our children. Studies have shown that children involved in the arts tend to do better in school, have a lower drop out rate, are less likely to have substance abuse problems or get in trouble with the law. I will be a strong advocate of the Arts in Congress. Unfortunately right now, no one is fighting for the arts.

Please feel free to go to my website to read about other specifics.

I believe in less government, a government that respects a women’s choice concerning her own body, a government that doesn’t get involved with the decision of who a person should love, a government that prioritizes a clean environment and energy independence because he has two children, a government with a balanced budget and whose tax system is fair (Sixty percent of American corporations didn’t pay ANY taxes for each year between 1996 thru 2000 - Wall Street Journal 4/6/2004), a government that supports the arts because that is the kind of world he would like to raise his children in.

I think people are responding to my message of protecting the middle class, social progressiveness and fiscal responsibility. As a Republican in this Democratic leaning district, when elected, I will have to work harder than any Democrat to earn your trust, respect and future support. After the election is over, I will still have to work for you or I would lose very quickly. For a Democratic Congressman to win reelection in this District, we've seen that he must merely please the party bosses.

Progress is never the work of one man or one party or one nation. Solutions come form all directions. People in New York City used to accept crime as just a fact of life, what can we really do? Then Giuliani came along and asked us to try new ideas. It worked. A decade later major crime is at a 40 year low and still going down. Republicans in Congress came up with workfare years before President Bill Clinton embraced the idea. There are 200,000 people receiving public assistance today in New York City. In 1993, there were 700,000. We have real problems in education, health care and the economy. We can either throw up our hands and declare defeat or find new solutions. I offer unconventional thinking and creative approaches to problems that many see as unsolvable.

I am a moderate and moderates are increasingly rare birds. The gradual disappearance of moderates from the Republican landscape has helped neither the party nor the country. Republican moderates are the voice of bipartisan good sense. In time, moderates could lead the Republican Party and our country back to where it once was and where it ought to be now.

Moderate Republicans wield tremendous influence over issues before Congress. With slim majorities to get anything passed, Republicans and Democrats have to persuade the people in the middle. This will allow me be an effective Congressman. Mr. Nadler’s famous extremism has led him to become a completely marginalized figure in Congress.

Nadler voted against the Assault Weapon Ban which was included in President Clinton’s 1994 Crime Bill (H.R. 3355 8/21/94). That law also put 100,000 new police officers on the streets of America. Nadler voted against this law because to get it passed Clinton had to accept expanding the federal death penalty to include drug kingpins. The assault weapons were banned, the police helped bring down crime across America, but no drug kingpin was put to death. If he doesn’t get everything he wants he’ll fight good legislation- It’s rule or ruin. Although I am against capital punishment I would have voted for the Bill Clinton crime bill. Better to allow the death penalty for drug kingpins in federal cases in order to ban assault weapons and having 100,000 more policeman unlike my-way-of-the-highway Nadler.

If you think we’re in a mess today, I agree. The only way to fix things is for people to stop voting for donkeys or elephants and start looking at the candidate. Vote for someone who cares about you. Someone who best supports and will deliver what you believe- a balanced budget, a clean environment, fairer taxation, world class education, a strong military, and sensible political reform. A person that believes in a smaller, less intrusive government. A candidate that is continently working for your support. I have not taken a dime from the Republican Party so that I can be totally independent when I represent you in Congress. In this day and age, it is not enough that our representatives are Democrats – they ought to be better.

None-the-less, in your blog, you state I "pretend" to be an independent. I am, in fact, endorsed by the Independence Party. You talk about the arts- I have been personally attacked and labeled as a pornographer because I run a foundation that gives support to contemporary artists. And because for a while I ran that foundation and this campaign from my home my opponents have attacked the foundation not-for-profit status. And since I am committed to serving the people of this City, I cannot imagine a circumstance where I would vote for Tom Delay for Majority Leader. I will vote for legislation that offer real solutions for problems New Yorkers face, regardless of which side of the aisle they come from.

I propose a challenge for you, you want to be open minded, give me a call before you attack me and my campaign- (212) 431-0513.

Peter Hort

I would prefer to stick to a written correspondence. I am not doing it out of rudeness. I just correspond better in writing than I do over the telephone. Since you posted a long campaign statement on my site, I will respond here.

I don't see how you are going to be an effective legislator for New York if you are a member of the GOP and do not support the current house leadership. They will not give you decent assignments on committees, or allow you any influence. This leadership team has been ruthless in its treatment of moderates.

The only way I see to get rid of them is to work to defeat the Republican Party. Only when they lose the majority in the House and Senate will they re-think their far right agenda.

I believe it is fundamentally anti-NYC, anti-urban, and anti-gay to call oneself a Republican when the people running the party are all of those things, and are pursuing terrible policies.

Almost none of your positions have anything to do with the Republican Party that exists now. Its platform is specifically against many of the things you say you stand for. You must realize that even the Log Cabin Republicans have refused to endorse Bush for this election.

I appreciate your family's support for the arts, but you are acting against the interests of the creative community and NYC as a whole by running as a Republican. It is not the Democratic Party that has destroyed the political center. It is the Republican Party.

I am sorry; I am too busy with the campaign to get into a tit-for-tat with you. But, there is diversity within the Republican Party – the Log Cabin Republicans (which are endorsing me) Bloomberg, Schwarzenegger, and me are just a few noteworthy examples. If you choose to judge people based on labels and stereotypes, then it shouldn't be surprising that you will make some bad decisions.

To me, art is about breaking taboos and questioning the status quo. That usually takes courage. You support a do nothing politician whose career highlights include:

- voting against the assault weapons ban

- voting against putting 100,000 police officers on the streets of America

- giving thousands of dollars to Pro-Life Congressional candidates while claiming to be unequivocally pro-choice (Charles Stenholm of Texas, Rodney Alexander of Louisiana, Lincoln Davis of Tennessee, Tim Holden of Pennsylvania and Ken Lucas of Kentucky who have all been given a 0% rating by Planned Parenthood. See or, and

- saying recently we cannot cut the budget but instead claims the only way to balance the budget is by raising taxes (Tavis Smiley Show 3/10/04).

- raising millions of dollars as an incumbent for his re-election from businesses that do work for the government including MCI WorldCom, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association PAC and the Association of Trial Lawyers PAC ( or

- called on the United Nations to monitor the American elections (New York Post 7/12/04). This would allow undemocratic regimes such as Cuba, China, North Korea, Syria and Iran to be given the power to sit in judgment of American democracy.

- and his wife has a $125,000 year patronage job and thinks he cannot loose because people won't look at his record but will only look at labels,

In addition, Jerrold Nadler has been in office for twelve years, but his name isn't associated with any important legislation. Of the 157 bills Nadler sponsored only three became law. Two were minor technical bills and the third renamed a federal building after his predecessor in Congress ( When asked why he was running for office, Nadler answered, "It's the power to command attention and publicity" (Newsday, New York, August 21, 1989). Although Jerrold Nadler may be better than many of the Republicans on the Arts, but he has proven to be downright awful on all other fronts. He expects to get re-elected because he is the incumbent and voters have short memories.

Instead of debating the issues or speaking to groups other than party loyalists, he prefers to attack me personally. A handout his people are giving out in Boro Park in Brooklyn accuses me of being a supporter of pornography because I am the director of a charity in my sister’s name that gives art grants to contemporary artists.

Why doesn't he go out into the district? Because he is sure of your support and doesn’t want to explain why he voted against much of the legislation mentioned above.

We are so polarized politically that we will vote for a divisive, do nothing politician who is running on the right party line and reject a candidate who thinks out of the box and supports our ideas but is running on the wrong label. You are saying to the Republican Party you may as well run clones of George Bush and Dick Cheney because we won't support Jesus Christ if he runs as an elephant.

You, sir, deserve the government that you get, while I on the other hand will be fighting rightwing fanatics and leftwing intolerance - for a better one. Look forward to seeing you in the art world. FYI, The Rema Hort Mann Foundation is announcing its Art Grants and having its annual Art Crawl on Saturday, November 13.

Peter Hort

Hey Mr. Hort,

You're a bit thin-skinned to be a politician. Maybe you should reconsider. But before you quit, do me--a constituent--a favor and talk to your friend Arnold S. about his "girly men" trope. It's homophobic, misogynistic and muscle-head stupid; what a bright tomorrow for the GOP.

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