Voters from California to Virginia will see a large contingent of openly LGBT candidates in Tuesday's elections. Among those seeking office or reelection:
Annise Parker, Houston mayoral race: The openly gay mayor of the nation's fourth-largest city is widely expected to win reelection, despite antigay campaign rhetoric -- targeted both at Parker and a transgender candidate for Houston City Council. "The homosexual community will tell you that it doesn't matter what people do sexually," authors of the blog Godfather Politics wrote Tuesday. "Tell that to your children. You know it does matter."
Bevan Dufty, San Francisco mayoral race: The epicenter of American LGBT culture has never had an openly gay mayor. Dufty, who has served two terms as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, is trying to change that as one of 15 challengers to incumbent Ed Lee. "While polls show Lee as the front-runner, the unpredictability of ranked-choice voting has thrown uncertainty into the outcome," the San Francisco Chronicle reports (read the article here). Patrick Forrest, Virginia state Senate race: The gay GOP candidate has faced a whisper campaign and mailers attacking him for being "openly homosexual," according toTheWashington Post. Forrest had accused incumbent Democratic state senator Janet Howell of being involved in the gay-baiting tactic; Howell denied her campaign has been involved and condemned the mailer sent out this past weekend.
In addition, LGBT rights advocates are following at least two other races closely. A special election for state Senate in Iowa pits Democrat Liz Mathis against Republican Cindy Golding for the seat in District 18, representing eastern parts of the state. A Republican win would split control of the state Senate, where Democrats hold a slim 26-24 majority, and move the legislative body closer to passing a constitutional amendment that would overturn the 2009 court ruling that established marriage equality in the state. The Republican-controlled House approved the amendment earlier this year, but Senate majority leader Michael Gronstal has refused to bring the amendment up for consideration. The antigay National Organization for Marriage and Family Research Council have spent money and organized events to help Golding, a business owner, but polls from the weekend show Mathis, a former TV news anchor, with a six-point lead.
In upstate New York, Rose Marie Belforti, the town clerk of Ledyard, faces a write-in challenge from newcomer Ed Easter over her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Instead of complying with the new law, Belforti arranged to have a deputy issue all marriage licenses, prompting the threat of a lawsuit from People for the American Way and the challenge from Easter. Belforti, a Republican and dairy farmer, has won five consecutive two-year terms and enjoys some support from Christian groups opposed to same-sex marriage. Easter, who works in a wine tasting room, was endorsed by the PFAW PAC and has the backing of a small group of grassroots activists. The outcome could turn on a handful of votes, where in the past only a few hundred people have voted in the rural town's contests.
Advocate.com will have live updates of election night results (read an extended list of LGBT candidates in Tuesday's election at Gay Politics).