Jeffrey Payne, Former IML, runs for Governor of Texas - The Leather Journal

Jeffrey Payne, Former IML, runs for Governor of Texas



Most candidates would shy away from having a portrait taken on a motorcycle wearing full formal biker Leather. They would be afraid their constituents might take offense and be shocked by such a powerful and frankly sexual image.

Not so for the late Governor Ann Richards who donned a kinky white fringed Leather outfit and posed astride a Harley Davidson for a Texas Monthly cover. It was quite a sensation and regarded as a great PR move on her part. That was in 1992 and people thought it was pretty cool back then.


Today, Texas has a candidate for Governor who also occasionally wears Leather, and has posed astride a Harley Davidson for a portrait as well. Far from being an outlaw biker, Jeffrey Payne is an openly gay businessman running for the same office Ann Richards once held.

It would be poetic justice when the first Democrat to hold that office since Governor Richards is one that has been photographed in Leather biker gear. That is just the kind of poetic justice Jeffrey Payne is seeking. Jeffrey, former IML winner and owner of several businesses including the Dallas Eagle is running for Governor of Texas.

So far, Democratic voters across the state are enthused about his candidacy, though party elite are not.

“Apparently, they can’t get past the whole LGBTQ thing,” Jeffrey says. “We knew being gay and owning a leather bar would come up, so we decided to lead with those facts."

Payne made his formal announcement at a rally held in one of Dallas’ biggest convention hotels, the Hyatt Regency, and many supporters showed up to cheer him on. His husband, Sergio stood proudly by his side. The press was there as well, taking his campaign with the seriousness it deserves.

From Dallas, Jeffrey and his campaign staff have been touring Texas, visiting with voters across the state and listening to their concerns. “So far,” says Jeffrey, “people are far more interested in my policies than my sexuality."

Texas has not had a Democratic Governor since Ann Richards back in the 1990’s and Payne knows it will be an uphill fight. “We are under no illusions that this will be a cakewalk, but we also know that it will take an ‘out-of-the-box’ campaign and candidate to get voters to turn out next November,” says Jeffrey..

The Dallas businessman, bar owner and Leather title holder is indeed out-of-the-box, but stands firmly on the Democratic platform and believes 2018 will be the year Texas turns from red to blue.


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