Jewish Republican leader comes out as gay

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The first Jewish chief of the Republican Party came out as gay.

Ken Mehlman has told friends and family that he is gay, The Atlantic magazine reported online Wednesday.

"Everybody has their own path to travel, their own journey, and for me, over the past few months, I’ve told my family, friends, former colleagues, and current colleagues, and they’ve been wonderful and supportive," Mehlman, who ran George W. Bush’s successful reelection campaign in 2004 and who led the Republican National Committee from 2005-2007, told The Atlantic. "The process has been something that’s made me a happier and better person. It’s something I wish I had done years ago."

Mehlman, 44, was a leading advocate in the party for reaching out to minorities, a cause also close to the heart of Bush, who mentored Mehlman.

One of the reasons Mehlman, now an executive with a private equity firm, left politics was his disappointment, as Bush became less influential, that the party adopted positions that alienated Hispanics, blacks and gays.

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