Huge Round-Up of LGBT Election Results: Highlights and Stinkers Across the Country

Overall, LGBT candidates and causes scored huge wins in yesterday's elections. Here's a round-up of some of the highlights and stinkers. Apologies if I've missed any. Please add them in the comments section.

MathisRoadLiz Mathis beat Cindy Golding in Iowa's special election holding off what might have been a legislative threat to marriage equality in the state, and keeping Democrats in control of the Senate. This is a HUGE loss for NOM and other anti-gay groups, which poured money into the state to defeat Mathis and used hideous the last minute.

Iowa Independent: "Liz Mathis, 43, won a clear victory in a special election Tuesday by earning 13,184 votes or 55.8 percent support, according to the Linn County Auditor’s Office. Cindy Golding, her Republican opponent garnered 10,283 votes or 43.52 percent support. The Constitution Party’s Jon Tack earned 151 votes and just under 1 percent support from voters in the 40 precincts that currently comprise Senate District 18."

Ebbin RoadAdam Ebbin has been elected to the Virginia state senate, and is its first openly gay senator: "Ebbin defeated Republican challenger and political newcomer Timothy McGhee by a margin of 64 percent to 35 percent. He ran in a district with a solid Democratic majority that includes parts of Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax counties."

RoadHouston Mayor Annise Parker was reelected by enough of a margin that she has avoided a run-off.

RoadLargo, Fla., City Commission: Michael Smith defeated Mary Gray Black, who has a history of anti-gay and anti-trans activism on the commission.

Mayfield RoadCharlotte, North Carolina elected its first openly gay city council member: "LaWana Mayfield won her seat Tuesday as part of a Democratic wave in North Carolina's largest city. In addition to holding the mayor's office, Democrats increased their margin on the city council, now holding 9 of 11 seats."

RoadMore in North Carolina: "Openly gay Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt won his reelection bid with 78 percent of the vote, beating challengers Tim Sookram and Kevin Wolff. Openly gay 22-year-old and recent University of North Carolina grad Lee Storrow won his race for a seat on the Chapel Hill Town Council. He garnered 15.78 percent of the vote, coming in third in a four-way race. Storrow is the youngest member to serve on the council in 20 years. In nearby Carrboro, incumbent Alderwoman Lydia Lavelle was also victorious. She’ll serve another term on that town’s council, capturing 29.84 percent of the vote."

Morse RoadAlex Morse, a 22-year-old, beat 67-year-old inclumbent Mary Pluta in  Holyoke, Massachusetts to become the nation's youngest mayor. “Alex is a force of nature, and proof that young LGBT Americans are determined to live authentic lives as they build their careers.  We’re incredibly proud of the campaign he ran,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund.

RoadMaywood, NJ's Mayor Tim Eustace won his Assembly race, "becoming the first openly gay non-incumbent to win a seat in the legislature. Eustace will join Assemblymember Reed Gusciora, who won his reelection bid, as New Jersey’s only openly gay state lawmakers."

Seelbach RoadChris Seelbach is the first openly gay city council member elected in Cincinnatti: "He wants to turn the debate more toward what council can do to make Cincinnati more of a place sought out by young professionals and young families. He worked in 2004 to help defeat Article XII, which banned naming gay people as a protected class. He wants to make public transportation the top priority and move toward a fixed-rail system connecting all neighborhoods. He's 31, vice president and chief financial officer of The Seidewitz Group, a marketing and consulting firm. He lives in Over-the-Rhine, is an endorsed Democrat, and is the city's first openly gay council candidate."

RoadBruce Harris was elected mayor of Chatham Borough, N.J. and is likely the nation’s first openly gay, African American, Republican mayor.

RoadMary Doran has been elected to the School Board in St. Paul, Minnesota.

RoadPedro Segarra easily retains his post as mayor of Hartford, Connecticut.  His main opponents dropped out of the race earlier this year.

Adamson RoadZach Adamson is now the city's first openly gay City Council member in Indianapolis.

RoadCaitlin Copple has won election in Missoula, Montana: "She is the first openly gay councilmember that has been elected to the Missoula City Council. 'We in the LGBT community are going to be celebrating pretty heartily,' said political science senior John Blake."

RoadDaniel Hernandez, Jr., Gabrielle Giffords' openly gay hero intern, has won election to the Tucson school board.

RoadTraverse City, Michigan overwhelmingly supported an ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation: "By a nearly two-to-one margin, the city voted 2,818 to 1,661 — 63 percent to 37 percent — to keep a year-old ordinance intact. 'It sends a message that Traverse City is an open and inclusive place,' said Ross Richardson, of Traverse City Equality, a committee that encouraged voters to support the ordinance. 'It defines what our values are.'"

Mainead RoadMaine retained same-day voter registration despite hideous ugly anti-gay tactics by Republicans.

RoadMississippi's "personhood amendment failed at the polls: "Mississippi voters Tuesday defeated a ballot initiative that would've declared life begins at fertilization, a proposal that supporters sought in the Bible Belt state as a way to prompt a legal challenge to abortion rights nationwide. The so-called 'personhood' initiative was rejected by more than 55 percent of voters, falling far short of the threshold needed for it to be enacted. If it had passed, it was virtually assured of drawing legal challenges because it conflicts with the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established a legal right to abortion." Big loss for the Family Research Council.

RoadIn Ohio, voters overturned a significant anti-union law in a referendum: "The results could help reverse the momentum of Republicans who used last year's huge electoral gains to pass extreme measures favored by the party's right wing, said Paul Beck, a political science professor at Ohio University."

RoadAppointed San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee holds a commanding lead over his other opponents, which included City Attorney Dennis Herrera and openly gay former Supervisor Bevan Dufty.


Rosemarie_belfortiRoadRose Marie Belforti, the town clerk of Ledyard, NY, who refused to sign same-sex marriage license, won with 62 percent of the vote:

The Ledyard town clerk’s bid to return to office was cast as a crucial test of balancing the new same-sex marriage law against the right to religious freedom.

“Rose Belforti has faced unreasonable bigotry and harassment,” said the Rev. Jason McGuire, NYCF’s executive director. “Some gay activists would not be satisfied with Mrs. Belforti’s right to have her religious freedoms reasonably accommodated.”

“Despite all of this, the people of Ledyard have spoken and rejected religious discrimination. For the last ten years, Rose Belforti has stood up for the people of Ledyard and tonight they stood up for her,” McGuire concluded.”

RoadManuel Rodriguez Jr., who used an anti-gay ad against his opponent, won in Houston: "Rodriguez, who issued a late campaign ad seen as anti-gay, narrowly defeated Ramiro Fonseca – by 24 votes out of about 4,800 cast – according to complete but unofficial results. Fonseca, a Houston Community College administrator who had endorsements from numerous elected officials, said Tuesday night that he would not concede until the vote tally is official."


  1. Dan Collier says

    This is perhaps a harbinger of what’s to come next year. Is it possible that the unreasoning and sheer irrationality so prevalent since Obama took office is beginning to splinter and collapse, at least down in the trenches?

  2. RBearSAT says

    Parker avoided a run-off by .8% with 13.14% of the vote. That’s a very slim margin with a better than average municipal turnout in TX. That’s also with a $2.3 million campaign against no well-funded or well-known candidates. While I support Parker and her efforts as mayor of Houston, she goes into her second term pretty weak, especially in Houston which has a strong mayor-council form of government. She is already suffering from low voter approval and really needs to shore up her positions if she expects to be elected to a third and final term as mayor of Houston.

    The point is that it’s good to have LGBT candidates elected if they are deserving of the office. If not, they should be turned out like any other candidate. Just being an LGBT candidate should not be the overriding factor when selecting a candidate. I’ve seen too many candidates court the LGBT vote just because they are “one of us.” What I find even more appalling is the expectation of that vote when their credentials are less than stellar.

  3. Sam says

    Along with LGBT wins i’d be interested in a post about wins by progressive candidates in general. In my current hometown of Knoxville, TN we elected our first ever female mayor and our first dem in thirty years. Our city council became more progressive as well. I can’t help but wonder, in light of this as well as our wins for team gay, if we may be looking at a turn from the recent teabag infestation. I hope I’m not being naive, but I really feel excited with all this.

  4. Denis says

    RBEARSAT, That’s not correct about Mayor Annise Parker. She garnered nearly 51% of the vote in a race with 6 candidates, meaning she was head and shoulders above every other candidate running. Like most politicians, her poll numbers suffer in tough economic times, but Houstonians still returned her to office. She is enormously qualified to run Houston and LGBT Americans should be proud of her reelection.

  5. John says

    “Bruce Harris was elected mayor of Chatham Borough, N.J. and is likely the nation’s first openly gay, African American, Republican mayor.” Wow. I want to hear more about this – Chatham is an affluent bedroom community, very “white” and very “family” in highly Republican Morris County. I wonder if Bruce Harris is truly a Republican, or just labels himself as such for the purpose of having a chance at winning. Gotta do some research.

  6. Francis says

    Last night was a good night overall. The reality is that Republicans have overreached and been exposed, and while maybe not a complete turn-around like in 2010, what we saw last night was a repudiation of extremism from conservatives. It’s also great to see so many openly gay politicians winning office, some in states and areas one wouldn’t think possible. Shows me that maybe, just maybe, people are starting to judge us based on character and not solely our sexuality.

    On the flip side, Mr. Rodriguez winning in Houston is a real, real shame, but the combination of the fact he was a heavy favorite before the homophobic flyer came out, and it was storming badly in Houston yesterday, was too much of a hurdle to overcome for Mr. Fonseca. If this incident happened like 2 weeks ago, Mr. Fonseca I’m sure would have won. In any case, this case is clearly not settled and as pretty much no-one wanted Rodriguez to return in the Houston school system, this is a situation that will be a dark cloud over his head until he addresses it.

  7. RBearSAT says

    @Denis .8% above 50% or 51%, you spin it how you want to. 1% to avoid a runoff by an incumbent mayor with a pack of no-names along with $2.3 million compared to poorly financed campaigns is a pretty poor showing. I think that speaks volumes. To compare, Mayor Castro in San Antonio won with 81% of the vote against a similar field of candidates in 2011 with less money. Same economic conditions, albeit San Antonio’s is more recession-proof than Houston’s, but I think you get the picture I paint.

    As I said, I’m supportive of Parker and what she’s trying to accomplish in Houston but she’s on shaky ground going into her second term. Houstonians seems to agree. Her voter approval ratings are one of the lowest in Houston’s history.

    I didn’t say she wasn’t qualified. What I was pointing out is that in listing off the LGBT wins it’s important to remember we shouldn’t prop up candidates just because they are LGBT which is so often the case.

  8. NE Rich says

    As for Stinkers, so minimal. After watching the little debate that JMG posted last month in that little town in the Finger Lakes NY, I have nothing but pity for Rose Marie Belforti. She is a deeply troubled person with an even more troubling back story. If the far right wants to use this former Buddhist aging Smith hippie as a poster child good for them, go for it.

  9. Dale says

    Would the GOP consider that the Dems have a mandate from the people? Doubt it. But we do. Our mandate is sexual orientation must not be considered for political office. Stop the job killing bills that they know will never become law. Clean out the obstructionist and put in people to get this country moving.

    Hey GOP/TP in congress! Start cleaning up your offices and making transportation arrangements with the Heritage Foundation Bus fleet!

  10. PhillyRock says

    Yes – we’re very excited to have an openly gay Treasurer in Harrisburg PA – especially one that is in his early 20s, but he’s not the first openly gay official – Dan Miller who is now the city controller was elected a city council member in 2005. I also think city councilman Brad Koplinski is openly bisexual.

  11. K says

    So you have a gay councilmember at home! Very cool!

    As you can see from the margin, Adam’s win wasn’t a surprise at all. I’m still thrilled for him! I went to the last debate, and at the very end his anti-gay opponent said we “weren’t angry with him, we were angry with god” and that “maybe god made you the wrong way to prove he exists”, Dude shot himself in the foot. Was fun to watch him self-destruct!

  12. RBearSAT says

    @Jason thanks for pointing that out about Laster. What’s very interesting about his election is that he was the only non-Latino candidate in what has been termed a Hispanic Opportunity District. Granted he bankrolled over 10 times that of his opponents, both Hispanics. But it does demonstrate that LGBT candidates can win throughout the country on their own merits.

    BTW, one final thought on Parker’s win. One of my good political blogger buddies, Charles Kuffner, notes that Parker could very easily face a strong challenge in 2013 from a solid opponent. I’m surprised no one saw the writing on this wall and challenged her this election cycle. She went into this race vulnerable and her 51% showing as an incumbent with a field of underfunded no-names proves that vulnerability.

    Laster will be good to watch to see if he can make a name for himself in District J. BTW, it should also be noted Sue Lovell, open council member in At-Large 2, retired from council this year through term limits. So Houston Council swapped one LGBT for another.

  13. Dan L says

    Wake county, NC (Raleigh) School board held back a challenger in a tight runoff which now tips the balance back to Democrats, from the Tea Party majority who had wreaked havoc on the school system for the part two years, reversing policies that had been in place for decades and won national accolades in favor of segregated-by-income student assignment plans that made national news.

  14. says

    “Bruce Harris was elected mayor of Chatham Borough, N.J. and is likely the nation’s first openly gay, African American, Republican mayor.” Wow. I want to hear more about this – Chatham is an affluent bedroom community, very “white” and very “family” in highly Republican Morris County. I wonder if Bruce Harris is truly a Republican, or just labels himself as such for the purpose of having a chance at winning. Gotta do some research.

    Posted by: John | Nov 9, 2011 8:49:34 AM

    So I ask John what’s the research about? Are you saying because of the town’s makeup they’re prejudice and this Black Man had to lie to win? You’re confusing me. Are you doing any research where white gays won in highly visible GOP areas?

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