Election Results Are In: How Did LGBT Candidates Fare?
Hero Scores a Victory
Daniel Hernandez, the gay intern who helped save the life of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords when she was attacked by a gunman in Arizona, was widely encouraged to pursue a career in public service. And now he's won his first election.
Hernandez was elected to the Sunnyside Unified School District's governing board in Arizona with more than 60% of the vote, according to Arizona Public Media.
It was only Hernandez's first week on the job when a gunman went on a deadly shooting spree during an outdoor event with voters. Hernandez became one of the story's heroes, praised by President Obama himself, for loyally attending to Giffords, who had been shot in the head. — Lucas Grindley
Still No Gay Mayor in San Francisco
With 16 candidates for mayor in San Francisco, it will take a while to be absolutely certain who won. But it's clear that gay candidate Bevan Dufty has lost, with incumbent mayor Ed Lee far ahead.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Lee's possible win was buoyed by support in the city's sizable Asian population. Dufty, who recently served in Harvey Milk's seat on the Board of Supervisors, had tried to rally gay citizens, with the Victory Fund sending a mailer proclaiming that "San Francisco deserves a gay mayor." But LGBT voters had a number of supportive candidates to pick from.
During the campaign, Dufty got a lot of attention for including his daughter in campaign ads, as seen in the image pictured. — Lucas Grindley
Annise D. Parker Reelected as Houston Mayor
Houston mayor Annise D. Parker has won reelection despite low approval ratings and antigay rhetoric leveled against her by a challenger.
With all precincts reporting, Parker won with 51% of the vote while her nearest competitors struggled in the mid-teens during an evening of low voter turnout. Parker had led the field in campaign spending by a large margin: She spent $2.3 million while her opponents spent considerably less, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Candidate Dave Wilson, who assailed Parker during the campaign for her sexual orientation, garnered just 12% of the vote. — Andrew Harmon
Patrick Forrest Loses Amid Whisper Campaign
Gay Republican Patrick Forrest faced a whisper campaign that tried to turn conservative voters against him because of his sexual orientation. And he lost his bid to defeat incumbent Virginia state senator Janet Howell Tuesday.
Howell had more than 60% of the vote, according to the Sun Gazette, and will go on to her sixth term. She adamantly denied any involvement in the shenanigans that Forrest experienced.
First a Democratic party operative was caught on tape saying that informing Republicans that Forrest is gay was part of her party's strategy to win. Then an anonymous mailer attacked Forrest for being "openly homosexual."
"A liberal Republican like Patrick Forrest is a greater threat to the conservative agenda than a Democrat will ever be," it said. — Lucas Grindley
A Win for Marriage Equality
Liz Mathis is not a gay candidate. But an anonymous robo-call to Iowa voters warned that the Democrat favors gay sex — and it encouraged voters to call and ask Mathis "which homosexual sex acts she endorses."
The former television news anchor won her bid Tuesday for the state Senate in District 18, which had become a flash point for the same-sex marriage debate because if the Republican won, it would have meant Democrats lost control of the body. And that could have finally freed the Senate up to consider overruling the state Supreme Court decision that had legalized same-sex marriage with a new constitutional amendment banning it.
The Des Moines Register reports that this race had become one of the most expensive in the state's legislative history, with groups such as the National Organization for Marriage spending heavily. But Mathis focused on a jobs message and appears to have won with about 56% of the vote. — Lucas Grindley
Holyoke's Mayor a Big First
Massachusetts voters in Holyoke picked Alex Morse, a 22-year-old gay man, as their new mayor on Tuesday.
"Old Holyoke fell to New Holyoke," reported MassLive.com on the race. Morse was backed by the Victory Fund and is apparently not only the first openly gay mayor but also the youngest in the town's history. Morse replaced a 67-year-old straight woman whom he beat in the primary. — Lucas Grindley
Zach Adamson Shapes Indianapolis City Council
Democrats took control of the Indianapolis City-County Council Tuesday with the help of Zach Adamson, who won an at-large council seat.
Adamson, a small-business owner and who has served on the board of the Indiana Stonewall Democrats, becomes the city's first openly gay city council member and was backed by Victory Fund. The Indianapolis Starreports that with Democrats in control, the council is expected to consider domestic-partner benefits for city-county employees among its list of to-do items. — Lucas Grindley
Hope for North Carolina
As North Carolina debates whether to ban same-sex marriage in its constitution, voters in Charlotte elected their first openly gay member of the City Council.
LaWana Mayfield will represent District 3, having defeated the incumbent in a primary earlier this year and then besting the Republican challenger.
"Honestly, I believe the community recognizes that my five-year committed relationship is the least of their worries," Mayfield told WBTV. "We still need to look at stabilizing our property values, look at strong community safety and smart economic growth." — Lucas Grindley
A Democratic Wave in Ohio
Chris Seelbach, who is gay, might have benefited from voter outrage over a Republican anti-union law that sent angry Democrats to the polls in droves to successfully repeal it.
Seelbach was among seven Democrats elected the to Cincinnati City Council on Tuesday, with four incumbent Republicans sent packing, The Cincinnati Enquirer reports. He becomes the first openly gay member of the council.
Seelbach is known for his 2004 efforts to successfully repeal part of the city charter that had banned any laws that tried to protect gay people from discrimination.
Seelbach won the endorsement of the Enquirer and was backed by the Victory Fund. — Lucas Grindley
It's Not Savannah's Time Yet
Although Georgia has at least 12 openly gay elected officials, according to the Georgia Voice, now wasn't the time for Savannah.
Pam Miller was endorsed by Georgia Equality and her bid to join the City Council, which would have been a first for an openly gay candidate, was among the Victory Fund's top races. Miller lost by more than 20 points.
Miller founded the LGBT Police Collaborative, which provides a safe path for LGBT Savannahns to contact law enforcement. — Lucas Grindley
Michael Smith Beats Antigay Incumbent
A candidate accused of hiding the fact he's gay from voters ousted the incumbent who accused him from the Largo City Commission in Florida Tuesday.
Michael Smith beat Mary Gray Black with 54% of the vote, according to the St. Petersburg Times.
Black told voters that campaign material from Smith, which included a picture of him with a female friend and her child, was hiding something.
“I think what she is referring to is that I happen to be gay. I’m not running as a gay commissioner, I just happen to be gay,” Smith told the Times in October.
"It has to do with transparency, the truth and not being misleading,” Black told the newspaper. “If you’re a drunkard, that’s your lifestyle. ... He can be whatever he wants to be.”
And he wants to be a city commissioner. — Lucas Grindley
Incumbents Hold On in Lansing
Rory Neuner's bid to join the Lansing City Council in Michigan fell short Tuesday despite an endorsement from the Victory Fund.
"Lansing is a diverse, welcoming community," Neuner told The Advocate in July. "Voters are accepting me for who I am — an active, engaged member of the community, and a highly qualified candidate that wants to make this city great."
She told the Lansing State Journal that her hopes of making the city council more responsive could still come true, even though the three incumbents were reelected. — Lucas Grindley
A Win for Progressive Montana
The Victory Fund sees Missoula, Mont., as a focal point in debate over LGBT antidiscrimination laws, and so Caitlin Copple's election to the City Council there Tuesday was among its top races to watch.
Copple defeated an incumbent who was one of only two members of the council to vote against an antidiscrimination ordinance proposed in 2010. It passed anyway and made Missoula the first city in the state to enact such a law. Copple is the first openly gay member of the council.
She is also a regional development organizer for the Pride Foundation, which awards grants to support the gay rights movement and fight the spread of HIV. — Lucas Grindley