John C. Eastman, seeking the Republican nomination for California attorney general, could become a new face in the fight to block same-sex marriage.
His candidacy threatens to further shrink the GOP's dwindling market share among California voters, even as he seeks to use the campaign apparatus that won the epic battle to ban same-sex marriage in 2008.
Eastman has surrounded himself with prominent players from the Proposition 8 campaign. His campaign firm, Schubert Flint Public Affairs, ran the Yes-on-8 campaign. Several of his donors were major contributors to the effort.
And a conservative Christian group called National Organization for Marriage, based in New Jersey, already playing in the GOP primary for the U.S. Senate here, proclaimed Eastman's candidacy to be of prime interest. "We view this race as one of the most important races in the country," said Brian Brown. The group was a major Yes-on-8 fundraiser.
Eastman has never been a player in electoral politics, but he is significant in far-conservative legal circles. Until recently, he was dean of Chapman University School of Law in Orange County, and is a former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
He founded the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, which stakes out conservative stands in appellate briefs and other writings, some of them related to homosexuality.
The center's advisers includes Reagan administration Attorney General Ed Meese, who is Eastman's campaign chairman, and John C. Yoo, another former Thomas clerk who authored "torture memos" in President George W. Bush's administration contending that "enhanced" interrogation techniques like water-boarding were legal.
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