augusta free press news

Who is

A 21-year-old named Alex Cortes has inserted himself into the thick of the Fifth District congressional race, with his advocacy group targeting Democratic incumbent Tom Perriello for his vote in favor of the health-care reform.

A Google search of the name produces as the top item a link to a column about an op-ed written by an Alex Cortes in 2007 defending the author’s right to chant “not gay” during the recitation of the “Good Old Song” at University of Virginia football games.

That Alex Cortes and the Alex Cortes behind are one and the same.

“It was completely misguided. I apologized for it at the time, I’ll apologize for it today. It was ignorant, arrogant, and I wish it wouldn’t have happened,” Cortes told

The issue with the ’07 Cortes column published in the UVa. student-run Cavalier Daily briefly became an issue in the Fifth District GOP primary. Cortes served as the campaign manager for primary candidate Laurence Verga when a brief flurry of media reports put an uncomfortable spotlight on what he had written two and a half years earlier.

“Some call it a drunken joke while others refer to its adherents as homophobes. Unfortunately, in doing so, this University has completely disregarded the religiously and politically-minded like myself who say the chant out of disgust for the gay lifestyle and support for our natural heterosexuality given to us by God,” Cortes wrote.

A contrite Cortes emphasized in our interview today that he has moved on from “past mistakes.”

“I’ve repudiated it ever since,” Cortes said. “This is still America, the place where you make mistakes, you learn from them, you apologize, you move on.”

Cortes in 2008 launched a 527 organization called to raise issue with votes cast by Barack Obama as an Illinois state senator on abortion issues, then worked on the 2009 gubernatorial campaign of Bob McDonnell. As a 501-c4 organization,, which calls on candidates to sign a pledge to defund the health-care reform passed by Congress and signed into law by Obama earlier this year, cannot endorse candidates in elections. Robert Hurt, the Republican nominee in the Fifth District, has signed the pledge, and while declining comment to last month when we first wrote about, the Hurt campaign has benefited from news coverage of the pledge and from recent moves by to make abortion rights a central issue in the health-care debate in the Fifth District race.

“It’s an interesting case with Tom because of his abortion pledge. We wanted to call him out on that. Last August, he told his constituents that he would not vote for the ObamaCare bill with federal funding for abortion, and he does just that,” Cortes said.

Story by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at

augusta free press
augusta free press