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Gay candidates
win big on Tuesday

Gay candidates
win big on Tuesday

A number of gay and lesbian candidates overcame vicious attacks by well-funded antigay challengers.

A number of gay and lesbian candidates overcame vicious attacks by well-funded antigay challengers on Tuesday to either win their elections or advance to a runoff. The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, the nation's largest gay and lesbian political action committee, announced that eight of its endorsed candidates were victorious on Tuesday, adding to the 11 wins the group tallied earlier this year.

"Increasingly, fairness trumps fear," said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund. "Our candidates are winning because voters understand they care about issues that matter to them. Our successful candidates provide a compelling vision for advancing public policy on a wide range of issues voters care about, and ultimately that's what resonates with the voter--not whether or not the candidate is gay or lesbian."

One of the goals of the Victory Fund has been adding out gay and lesbian elected officials in state legislatures where there are currently none--an effort the group refers to as the "Legislative Horizon States" campaign. Three candidates have advanced to help the organization move closer to that goal:

-- In Alabama Tuesday, Patricia Todd fended off a last-minute smear campaign in order to make it to a July 13 runoff for a state legislature seat in a Birmingham district.

-- Matt McCoy won his primary in Iowa Tuesday night to defend his legislative seat in November even after repeated attacks from a "family values" opponent. This is McCoy's first race as an openly gay candidate.

-- Kathy Webb won her Democratic primary May 23 for a seat in the Arkansas state legislature. She is poised to become the first openly LGBT legislator in the state's history.

"Other legislators respond to the courage and commitment demonstrated by their openly gay and lesbian colleagues," said Wolfe. "It's harder to be intolerant toward those you know and work with every day."

A recent Zogby poll conducted for the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute found that more than 70% of respondents would vote for an openly gay or lesbian candidate for state legislature if the candidate shared their views on the issues.

The following is a list of additional wins reported by the Victory Fund:

-- Ken Yeager won a seat on the Santa Clara County, Calif., board of supervisors outright with more than 50% of the vote in a field of three candidates.

-- Kevin Dowling was reelected to the Hayward, Calif., city council.

-- David Rubin was elected superior court judge in San Diego.

-- Richard Gordon was reelected to the San Mateo County, Calif., board of supervisors.

-- California state assembly members John Laird and Mark Leno and Montana state house member Christine Kaufmann won their primaries; Laird and Kaufmann have no opposition in the general election. (The Advocate)

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