Gay GOP group GOProud has endorsed the re-election bid of California Representative Mary Bono Mack over an openly gay candidate.

“Mary Bono-Mack has consistently supported legislation of importance to gay conservatives,” Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud, said Tuesday in announcing the group's endorsement.

“Bono-Mack has supported common-sense approaches to issue after issue that would improve the lives of all Americans – but especially gay and lesbian Americans,” he said.

LaSalvia noted that Bono Mack opposes the “Democrats' efforts to expand government-run healthcare that would discriminate against gays and lesbians,” supports gay-inclusive tax code and social security reforms and has repeatedly voted against a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

GOProud's endorsement pits gay group against gay group.

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund has endorsed the campaign of Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet, an openly gay politician raising two children – Beckman and Julia – with his husband Christopher Green, a pharmaceutical sales representative. The couple married in 2008 during the brief June-to-November window when gay marriage was legal in California.

While the Victory Fund is nonpartisan, its endorsement card tilts heavily Democrat.

LaSalvia quickly denounced Pougnet's ties to “the gay left,” saying they “would have you believe that Mary Bono-Mack is somehow an enemy of the gay and lesbian community.”

“Nothing could be further from the truth. The decision of organizations like the Human Rights Campaign to oppose Mary's re-election is a shameful reminder of just how slavishly the gay left is willing to do the bidding of Nancy Pelosi and the DCCC,” he said. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is the nation's largest gay rights advocate.

The forty-seven-year-old Pougnet has labeled Bono Mack anti-gay for her recent vote against repeal of the law that bans gay troops from serving openly.

“In a perfect world, people like Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack would treat all Americans the same,” Pougnet said after the House voted to repeal the law. “They wouldn't vote against gays and lesbians just to gain favor with extremists on the right.”

“I know we don't live in that perfect world yet, but I was still shocked to learn that Bono Mack voted against the amendment to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'” he added.

Denis Dison, a vice president with the Victory Fund, also disagreed with LaSalvia's characterization of Bono Mack as a gay ally.

“She had the chance to stand up for gays and lesbians serving in uniform, and she didn't take it,” Dison said in an email to On Top Magazine.

Pougnet's campaign, however, faces a steep incline. Bono Mack, who assumed office in 1998, remains a perennial favorite of voters.

In this ideologically divided district, the race might hinge on gay issues such as repeal of DADT. Gay mecca Palm Springs sits near the center of the district, but fanning out from there the district becomes increasingly conservative. Gay tourism remains a major economic driver in Palm Springs, which has a large and vibrant gay community.