By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com November 14 2002 1:00 AM ET
An out lesbian California state judge declared victory Tuesday in a bitter and tightly contested San Diego district attorney's race. Bonnie Dumanis won by a margin of approximately 3,500 votes, upsetting an incumbent tainted by scandal and a no-confidence vote from his prosecutors. Dumanis becomes the first openly gay district attorney in the United States, according to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. About 10,000 absentee and provisional ballots were counted Tuesday, giving Dumanis an unofficial lead with 292,361 votes to District Attorney Paul Pfingst's 288,805 votes. Both are Republicans in what was a nonpartisan race. About 200 ballots remained to be counted Tuesday afternoon, and election results will not be certified by the county until November 27.
"I think this was more about my opponent than it was about me," Dumanis said Tuesday. "The message was, It was time for a change."
Dumanis, a 50-year-old superior court judge and former prosecutor, did not make her sexual orientation an issue in the race. "Healing the office is the top priority," Dumanis said. She entered the race last year after the county prosecutors' union issued a vote of no confidence in Pfingst's ability to lead. Voters in the Hillcrest and North Park neighborhoods, the center of the city's gay community, favored Dumanis by a 2-to-1 ratio and may have been the key to her victory, according to an analysis by The San Diego Union-Tribune.