The kinds of videos that help politicians get elected usually feature one or more of the following: an American flag waving gracefully in the wind, a few smiling children, some hand-shaking, a grassy plain, and the candidate dressed in a way that suggests he or she is a serious person with access to an iron who would get a beer with you maybe, but please don’t touch their hair. They do not usually feature gay sex—but a Republican in Kansas very well might change that.
In 2008, Alan LaPolice had a bit part in an independent movie with homosexual overtones, and now he has a starring role in the August 5 Republican primary in Kansas’ 1st Congressional District. LaPolice is attempting to unseat Rep. Tim Huelskamp, who has been in office since 2011—and Huelskamp seems to be trying to discredit LaPolice’s candidacy by using his minor film career against him.
The Art of Being Straight, rated two stars on Rotten Tomatoes, is “a sexy, comedic drama about two college friends questioning their careers and sexuality in east Los Angeles,” according to IMDB. In the film, LaPolice plays Rand, a character described by the Topeka Capital-Journal as “a nosy and unpleasant supervisor.”
The movie poster features a suggestive photo of a young, shirtless man with his belt unbuckled, leaning on a bed, and staring down at an unclothed person. The 1:49 movie trailer is even saucier: It is a series of young people asking each other if they are gay, peppered with shots of heavy petting and indie music. The trailer closes with two men making out. This will not be playing at next year’s CPAC, let me tell you. LaPolice’s big moment comes when he says, with remarkable conviction, “Regular bars?”
The marsupial-looking LaPolice is a Gulf War veteran who attended Cal Berkeley to study performing arts and English literature, according to his campaign website, True-Conservative.org
In an interview with The Daily Beast on Thursday, he informed that after college, he chased his acting dreams while living in Guttenberg, New Jersey, of all places. He played Jem in a tour of To Kill a Mockingbird and, according to IMDB, was in a 2000 project called Family Audit and a 2004 video called B-Witched, before deciding to hang it up and go teach English in Kansas.
LaPolice said he initially turned down the role in the movie now causing him trouble—which he calls a “coming of age story”—on the campaign trail, because that part of his life, as he saw it, was over. But, his friend convinced him to give it one last go. “He kept coming back and saying… ‘I’ve seen you, you’re a great actor, do this one part! It’s like a 10-second cameo!’”
The Capital-Journal reported that it was sent a copy of The Art of Being Straight by the Huelskamp campaign—unsolicited, even though a spokesperson for the campaign told the publication they weren’t planning to talk about LaPolice’s movie career in their campaign. The Daily Beast has not yet received a response to a request for comment from the Huelskamp campaign.
“No one was going to run, because they were afraid of how Tim Huelskamp politically devours his opponents. He gets down in the dirt, and he really fights. A lot of people wanted to run, but they just knew that Tim Huelskamp would get pretty aggressive… I anticipated him going after me for the movie career,” LaPolice told The Daily Beast. “Two months ago, he made a very public statement that he and his campaign committee decided that the movie career wasn’t going to be an issue in this political race, and yet now it’s one of their major sticking points.”
LaPolice said he hadn’t expected to get involved in politics so early in life, but was compelled to do so because of Huelskamp, who he charged “has scandals much darker than mine. He’s done things that are much more salacious than what I’ve done. I was in a B-movie for 30 seconds and I’ve never tried to bury it. But if you look at my opponent, since he’s been elected, he’s been involved in scandals.” As of Wednesday, an independent super PAC called Now or Never has spent $254,000 trying to defeat Huelskamp—who during the last cycle did not have any opponents, but now stands contested in both the primary and general election. Huelskamp is perhaps best known for claiming the Sandy Hook shooting was being “politicized.”
Still, it’s not all smooth sailing for LaPolice, whose movie career does seem to have rubbed some in the Sunflower State the wrong way. The director of the American Family Association of Kansas and Missouri, for one, was appalled. “It’s highly inappropriate in a family-values climate, which Kansas is, to be featured in a homosexual movie,” Phil Cosby told the Capital-Journal. “I don’t think that will play well in Kansas.”
LaPolice told The Daily Beast that he believes marriage should be decided at the state level, and “I wouldn’t want my children exposed to” The Art of Being Straight.
As for the voters exposed to the movie, LaPolice isn’t worried about what they will think: “I believe the voters in Kansas can see that it’s not me [starring in the movie]. I’ve never been intimate with a man and I’ve never kissed a man and I’ve never—that’s not me. I would imagine the voters in Kansas know the difference between acting and advocacy.”
“Ronald Reagan did a movie where he was a murderer-thug and he slapped women around. Now, I don’t believe that Reagan actually was a murderer-thug and I don’t believe he ever slapped any women.”