John Buchheit of Delaware City is believed to be the first openly gay mayor elected in his state.
The News Journal of Wilmington reports on the historic election in Delaware, where the state senate is expected to debate and vote on a civil unions measure Thursday.
“With 198 votes, Buchheit defeated sitting Mayor John Martin, who received 168, and a third challenger, Nick Kroll, who finished with 52,” reports the Journal. “As mayor, Buchheit said, he wants to continue the city's work with the new refinery owner, PBF Energy, to improve air quality. He also hopes to find a tenant for the abandoned Sterling Building on Clinton Street and institute performance evaluations for city employees.”
Buchheit, a registered independent and restaurant owner with his partner, Dale Slotter, came to Delaware City, a town of 1,700 residents on the Delaware River, in 2004 and earned a reputation for clashing with the political establishment. When a tied city council race last year resulted in the appointment of his opponent, he fought for a redo election, which he lost. He also has been active on local community committees.
Several out gay city council members have been elected around Delaware, according to the Journal, but Buckheit is believed to be the first mayor, a fact that did not figure significantly in his campaign.