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Nation Ready for a Black Gay Congressman?

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Nbroverman

Tuesday is a big day for Anthony Woods -- the 29-year-old Iraq war veteran may just find himself the first gay African-American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Woods is competing in a special election to replace former representative Ellen Tauscher in California's 10th District, which lies in the East Bay region near San Francisco. Tauscher recently accepted a position in the State Department.

After graduating from West Point, Woods completed two combat tours in Iraq and was awarded both the Bronze Star and the Army Commendation Medal for his service. After his time in the military, the native of Fairfield, Calif., earned his master's degree from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. During his time at Harvard, Woods was honorably discharged after publicly coming out.

Woods, a Democrat, is running against 14 other candidates in the special election. The most high-profile candidate is John Garamendi, California's Democratic lieutenant governor. Though Garamendi has greater name recognition than Woods and was endorsed by the Contra Costa Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, Woods could surge forward thanks to voter dissatisfaction with Sacramento politicians -- especially considering the state's current fiscal mess. Voter turnout is also expected to be low, which could potentially benefit an upstart candidate like Woods.

"We have seen a real surge of momentum in recent weeks, with hundreds of volunteers turning out for our 'Get Out the Vote' efforts and undecided voters increasingly breaking in our direction," Wood said in a press release. "We'll be working right up until the polls close tomorrow to let voters know that they have a choice in this election and a candidate who understands what it's like to walk in their shoes."

Woods may have a few more months to convince voters he's ready for Washington: If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote on Tuesday, a general election will be held November 3.

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Neal Broverman

Neal Broverman is the Editorial Director, Print of Pride Media, publishers of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, and Plus, spending more than 20 years in journalism. He indulges his interest in transportation and urban planning with regular contributions to Los Angeles magazine, and his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He lives in the City of Angels with his husband, children, and their chiweenie.
Neal Broverman is the Editorial Director, Print of Pride Media, publishers of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, and Plus, spending more than 20 years in journalism. He indulges his interest in transportation and urban planning with regular contributions to Los Angeles magazine, and his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He lives in the City of Angels with his husband, children, and their chiweenie.