's Races to Watch

BY Advocate.com Editors

October 28 2010 12:50 PM ET

New York State Senate: Brian Foleyand Lee Zeldin
Gay
rights groups in New York are lining up resources and money to defend
first-term incumbent state senator Brian Foley, who represents the area
of Long Island that includes the gay summer resort Fire Island. However,
it’s not his district but his vote for marriage equality last year that
makes it imperative to keep him in office.

Polls show Foley,
the first Democrat elected to represent his area in the state senate in
over a century, in a dead heat with Republican challenger Lee Zeldin,
who opposes marriage equality and made a strong showing in a congressional race two years ago. Helping to keep Foley in his seat
demonstrates that gay voters watch the backs of their friends.

The
state senate could vote again on the marriage equality bill as soon as
early 2011. Last time, the measure failed by a 38-24 margin. In order to
pass the bill on the second try, in November, advocates need to keep
friends in their seats, elect a few more pro-equality senators, and flip
some former opponents to yes votes. Keeping Foley in the senate is an integral
part of that strategy.

Florida U.S. Senate Race: Charlie Crist,  Marco Rubio, and Kendrick Meek
In
one of the most closely watched U.S. Senate contests in the country,
Marco Rubio, Rep. Kendrick Meek, and Gov. Charlie Crist are vying to
replace George LeMieux, appointed to the seat by Crist when Mel Martinez
resigned last year. Meek, the tried-and-true Democratic ally, trails
independent Crist and front-runner Rubio, the Republican former speaker of the state house
of representatives. A staunch social conservative and the preferred
candidate of Tea Party voters, Rubio is expected to replicate Martinez's
antigay positions.

No matter what happens on
Election Day, the race has prompted a fascinating evolution for Crist,
who softened his position on social issues in order to court independent
voters. During the campaign he issued a position paper with the help
of Equality Florida in which he stated his support for gay rights,
stopping short of full marriage equality, and as governor he announced
that he would not enforce Florida’s ban on adoption by gay people, which
a state appellate court struck down last month and the attorney general
has declined to appeal.









Tags: Election

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