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Gay man runs for
lieutenant governor in Arkansas

Gay man runs for
lieutenant governor in Arkansas

A gay political consultant from Warren, Ark., has joined the ranks of Democrats seeking their party's lieutenant governor nomination next year. Drew Pritt, 30, announced his candidacy Monday, joining state senator Tim Wooldridge of Paragould and former state representantive Mike Hathorn of Huntsville in seeking the Democratic nomination.

Pritt said that if he were to become the party nominee and beat the Republican candidate in the November 2006 general election, he would be the first openly gay person elected to statewide office in Arkansas. But Pritt said other factors are more important than his sexual orientation. "Being gay doesn't define who I am," he said. "I am a Christian, and, if anything, being a Christian defines who I am."

He said he disclosed his sexual orientation in announcing his run for office because the question eventually would have been raised. Pritt said he decided late last week to enter the race because no progressive candidate had so far announced. In a news release he said the state's future "belongs to all of us, especially in south Arkansas. We need to stop being Democrat and Republican, white and black, gay and straight, liberal and conservative, red state or blue state. We need to once more be Arkansans. I want to help build up Arkansas, not tear it down."

State senator Jim Holt and state representative Doug Matayo, both of Springdale, have announced their bids for the Republican nomination. The incumbent lieutenant governor, Republican Win Rockefeller, is barred by term limits from seeking reelection. Rockefeller had announced a bid for the GOP gubernatorial nomination but withdrew last month, saying he needed to focus on battling a blood disorder that could eventually turn into leukemia. (AP)

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