The Associated Press reports that 32-year-old New Jersey attorney Jim Morrison, who was the runner-up in the first edition of ABC's The Mole in 2001 (to his ally Steve Cowles), has been asked by the New Jersey Democratic Party to withdraw his candidacy in the upcoming state senate race in the state's 24th Legislative District. According to the Sussex County Democratic Party chairman, Jim's candidacy, combined with (a) his openness about his sexual orientation (gay) and (b) the nude photographs taken of him during a 1996 contest that later appeared in the Village Voice, will wound the Democrats in a district where they are outnumbered by Republicans 3-to-1.

Jim, however, is unapologetic about his past and his sexuality and is uninterested in withdrawing from the race. ""I don't shy away or back away from who I am, because I think that's the kind of person voters want," he said.

Anyone seeking additional details about the nature of the photographs should read this interview in 'The Advocate', in which Jim discusses the photographs and the contest at a New York City gay bar named "Cake" for which they were taken.

So, let's get this straight: Jim's sexual orientation might not have bothered his game allies Kathryn Price (aka "the mole") and Steve, or show host Anderson Cooper, or the other contestants (save perhaps Charlie), or millions of TV viewers who were openly rooting for him, or People Magazine, which named him one of its "50 Most Eligible Bachelors" in 2001 -- but the New Jersey Democratic Party is so worried that it will alarm Republican New Jersey voters that he should quit the race. And this edict is issued in the same week that a majority of the Republican justices on the U.S. Supreme Court voted to strike down the Texas law criminalizing gay sex. Right. We wonder if the attitude of the Sussex County Democratic Party might be the real reason that Republicans there outnumber Democrats 3-to-1.

An interesting sidelight on Jim Morrison: during The Mole, Jim was always billed as a helicopter pilot. In the interview with The Advocate, Jim is quoted about his job flying a traffic copter for a radio station. Although it was mentioned on the show that Jim had gone to law school, the "lawyer" on the show was Kathryn.

However, it turns out that the helicopter gig was really just a hobby. Not only is Jim a lawyer, but he's a partner in his parents' law firm. Hmmm. We can't help but wonder if there are other reality TV show contestants with a similar background.