San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders spoke with 10News on Monday, the same day a commercial featuring him began airing during the Republican National Convention.
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"In 2007, I announced my support for marriage equality," Sanders says in the ad.
Years after his change of heart, Sanders' support of gay marriage will now be heard on a national stage.
"Marriage strengthens families," he says in the ad. "We need more of that in this country, not less."
The commercial, which is produced by gay rights supporters and aimed at Republicans, touts the support of other high-profile Republicans, including Dick Cheney, Laura Bush and Cindy McCain. It will air in Tampa throughout the Republican National Convention.
Sanders whose daughter is gay did not hesitate when asked to be in the ad, which he has seen.
"My wife was watching it with me," he told 10News. "We're both proud we have an opportunity to help support an issue like this."
The ad likely will not get much traction in the short term.
Tony Krvaric, the chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County, is in Tampa for the convention.
"They're trying to influence the issue
to redefine marriage," said Krvaric. "I don't think that's going to happen. The platform is set."
Political experts said the real goal may be future party platforms and the real audience is moderate Republicans.
"It's also aimed at the party in general, saying, 'Hey look, if you don't bring us into your tent, you're going to have a harder time winning elections,'" said Carl Luna, a political science professor at Mesa College.
As Sanders wraps up his time as mayor, he said the issue of gay marriage will always be associated with his term.
When asked if he embraced the fact that it was part of his legacy, Sanders said, "I think in the future I'll look back and think this is one of the most important things I had an opportunity to take part in,"
The ad will run through Thursday and has been shown in stories by national media.
Sanders said his daughter called him Sunday and thanked him for being in the ad.
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