Gay Pols Nearly Sweep Primaries

Gay Pols Nearly Sweep Primaries

Twenty-nine of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund's 33 endorsed candidates in primary contests Tuesday won their party's nomination or the election outright.

The Maryland legislature will have at least seven openly gay and lesbian members if three newcomers who won primaries Tuesday join four incumbent members. House of delegates candidates Luke Clippinger, Bonnie Cullison, and Mary Washington hope to join incumbents Annie Kaiser, Maggie McIntosh, and Heather Mizeur along with state senator Richard Madaleno. Washington would be only the second out lesbian African-American state legislator in the United States if elected.

Denis Dison, a spokesman for the Victory Fund, said the wins in Maryland will be key for a possible push in the Maryland legislature to pass a marriage equality bill, which Gov. Martin O'Malley said he would sign into law if he were to be reelected.

"It's going to be a powerful thing for people to talk openly about what this legislation means to them," he told The Advocate.  

One of the more notable wins on primary night was that of Providence, R.I., mayor David Cicilline, who is running to represent the state's first congressional district. If elected in November, he would become the fourth out member of the U.S. House of Representatives, joining Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, and Jared Polis.

“I’m very grateful that the Victory Fund and their supporters believe in this campaign, and I thank you for your hard work on our behalf," he said in a statement. "Together we really can change politics in Rhode Island and across the country and make sure that all Americans have a voice in their government. I hope you’ll continue to stand with us as we work hard for a big victory this November.”

Dison said the results from last night overall were "remarkable," but the premier race for his organization was Cicilline's primary, which he won in a heavily Democratic district.

"He does have a Republican opponent, so we're not out of the woods, but the fact that he is the top vote=getter in a race with four Democratic candidates is a good sign."

In New York, Monroe County legislature minority leader Harry Bronson won the primary for his state assembly district. Bronson would be the only out gay New York state legislator from the upstate region, since the five currently in the senate or assembly are from the New York City area.

Bronson is running to replace longtime assemblywoman Susan John. Bronson said he planned to continue John's focus on labor and jobs, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. John is retiring after a 20-year career in the legislature.

Looking toward the November vote, Dison said there are more than 100 Victory Fund–backed candidates up for election.

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