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With the primary election just days away, the Human Rights Campaign New York PAC this week dropped three mailers targeting state senator Shirley Huntley, the Queens Democrat who voted against the marriage equality bill last year.
Huntley faces a challenge from Lynn Nunes, a 25-year-old real estate broker who supports marriage equality. He has the endorsement of HRC, the Empire State Pride Agenda, Marriage Equality New York, and out elected officials like City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
However, in what could be a reflection of more socially conservative African-American voters in the southeast Queens district and the primacy of economic concerns this year, none of the mailers from HRC mention Huntley's vote against marriage equality. Instead, they attack the incumbent for her association with the culture of dysfunction, corruption, and waste in Albany.
Asked to comment on the absence of marriage equality in the mailers, HRC spokesman Michael Cole said, "One of the most important things we can do to make marriage equality a reality is to make sure Shirley Huntley doesn't return to Albany. The information we're putting in front of a wide swath of voters in that district helps achieve that goal for the LGBT community."
State campaign finance records and Cole attest that the PAC has raised more than $100,000 in the two months leading up to the primary election this Tuesday. The money, which comes mostly from in-state sources, is for the Campaign for New York Marriage, which seeks to defeat senators including Huntley, Bill Stachowski, and Ruben Diaz, Sr., all Democrats who voted against the marriage equality bill.
Prior to the 2008 election, gay donors around the country raised more than $1 million to help flip the state senate to Democrats, including some lawmakers who reneged on promises to support marriage equality.