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Election Preview: 10 Races with LGBT Candidates to Watch on November 4

BY LISA KEEN

MapThis year’s election night is likely to be an important one for the LGBT history books: Voters in Massachusetts are expected to elect the nation’s first-ever openly gay state attorney general, and voters in Maine could very well elect the nation’s first-ever openly gay governor. Two candidates for Congress could well become the first openly gay Republican elected to the U.S. House and, if they both succeed, they will join what will number as the largest ever contingent of openly LGBT members of Congress—up from seven to as many as 12, if all newcomers are successful.

Add to this mix a large number of openly LGBT candidates around the country for various state and local offices.

These are the top 10 races to keep an eye on November 4:

Michaud1. Maine: U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud (pictured) is holding onto a narrow lead over incumbent Republican Paul LePage and progressive independent Eliot Cutler in a race for the governorship. If he’s successful, Michaud will become the first ever openly gay person elected governor. Collectively, the latest polls (see RealClearPolitics) show a virtual tie between Michaud and LePage, with Cutler siphoning off 16 points. But interestingly, the latest poll, from Bangor Daily News, showed Michaud up by six points over LePage. (Former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey came out as gay in 2004 while governor, then promptly resigned.) Michaud came out as gay one year ago in an op-ed, saying he didn’t want his campaign for governor to be undermined by “whisper campaigns.”

Healey2. Massachusetts: Attorney Maura Healey (pictured), a first-time candidate, won a stunning victory in the September primary against a well-entrenched incumbent Democrat –even pro-LGBT Governor Deval Patrick endorsed the incumbent. But Healey trounced former state Senator Warren Tolman by more than 24 points. She is largely expected to do the same with the Republican Party’s nominee John Miller. And, if successful, Healey will become the nation’s first openly gay person elected as a state attorney general. She is best known in the LGBT community for her work as assistant attorney general on the Massachusetts challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, a lawsuit complementary to one led by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders.

Moulton3. Massachusetts: Former state Senator Richard Tisei almost made history two years ago when he narrowly missed becoming the first openly gay Republican to be elected to Congress. He’s back this year, seeking the same seat, and he’s holding onto a slight lead in some polls. The Democratic incumbent was the surprising loser in the September primary, so Tisei’s competition is Iraq War veteran Seth Moulton (pictured), the Democrat. LGBT newspaper publisher Sue O’Connell is backing Tisei; former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank is backing Moulton. Congress has had gay Republicans before –Steve Gunderson and Jim Kolbe. If elected, Tisei would become the first openly gay Republican elected to Congress.

Demaio4. California: Carl DeMaio (pictured) is the second person vying to become the first openly gay Republican elected to Congress, but his effort has been lost traction –first, by failing to win the support of the LGBT community, and, second, by being waylaid by a former campaign aide’s claim that DeMaio sexually harassed him. (San Diego County prosecutors announced just this week that they would not be pressing charges.) DeMaio, a former member of the San Diego City Council, is up against incumbent Democrat Scott Peters who has won endorsement from the Human Rights Campaign. Congressional District 52 is said to be evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. The latest poll, in early October, showed DeMaio with a three-point lead.

Maloney5. New York: First-term U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY18, pictured) is in a tough fight for re-election against a Republican opponent he beat two years ago. Maloney won his first-term by defeating incumbent Republican Nan Hayworth, who’s back for another round. Hayworth earned only a 71 rating from HRC in her one Congressional term.

C_aiken6. North Carolina: American Idol star Clay Aiken (pictured), a Democrat, is struggling to replace incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, who represents the 2nd Congressional District in North Carolina, and earned a zero rating from HRC for two terms. Aiken has done well in fundraising from individuals, while Ellmers has relied on party funding, but polls still show Ellmers with a sizeable lead.

Eldridge7. New York: Sean Eldridge (pictured) is making an uphill climb to become a member of the LGBT Congressional Caucus representing New York’s Hudson Valley district (No. 19). His opponent is two-term Republican Chris Gibson. Eldridge, the spouse of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, has been criticized repeatedly for using the couple’s personal wealth to fund his campaign, while little mention is made that Gibson’s campaign depends primarily on finance, insurance, and investment entities. Eldridge is, of course, pro-gay marriage; Gibson supports only civil unions, claiming that marriage is a religious institution. He earned a 76 rating from HRC in the last Congressional session and a zero in his first term. The Eldridge camp released a poll Tuesday showing that he had closed a 28-point lead by Gibson in September to 10 points as of October 19.

Kuehl8. California: Former State Senator Sheila Kuehl (pictured) is in a tight race against Bobby Shriver, a nephew of the late President Kennedy, for the District 3 seat on the powerful Los Angeles County Board. Despite her long history with the LGBT community, Kuehl is struggling to keep up with Shriver, who has raised twice the cash she has and won the backing of gay media mogul David Geffen. But she did win the most votes in the June primary. And if elected to the seat, she would become the first openly gay person to serve on the Board.

Pankey9. Idaho: In a little publicized effort, third party openly gay candidate Steve Pankey is running for governor in Idaho. His chances are slim to none: He won only 13 percent of the vote in his 2010 race for lieutenant governor. The Idaho Statesman reported recently that he and two other candidates were splitting 12 percent in the polls. But Pankey was rejected by his own party –the Constitution Party—after he came out in support of marriage equality. Idaho is currently still fighting to defend its state marriage ban in federal court.

Catania10. Washington, D.C.: Popular D.C. Councilman David Catania is mounting a strong campaign to become the capitol city’s first openly gay mayor. Catania has been haunted somewhat by the fact that he was a Republican in the heavily Democratic city. But he switched to independent 10 years ago after a long-standing dispute with the Republicans over their anti-gay policies. Catania has earned a good reputation in his 17 years on the Council, but his effort may be hurt by the independent campaign of another former Republican Councilmember Carol Schwartz. And both Catania and Schwartz are up against the African American Democrat Muriel Bowser, who won the endorsement of the local gay Democratic club.

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


CNN Looks Into the Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Gay GOP Candidate Carl DeMaio: VIDEO

Demaio

Carl DeMaio's campaign to become the openly gay GOP representative for California's 52nd congressional district was rocked this week by allegations DeMaio sexually harassed a former campaign staffer and attempted to bribe the man as cover-up.

DeMaio, who bills himself as a "new generation Republican" has categorically denied the claims and counters his accuser, Todd Bosnich, is a disgruntled ex staffer who was fired for plagiarism and may be responsible for the break-in at DeMaio's San Diego office back in May

CNN investigative correspondent Chris Frates traveled to Southern California to interview DeMaio and Bosnich and see if he could get some answers to help set the story straight.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

CNN adds:

This is not the first time DeMaio has been accused of sexually inappropriate behavior. Last year, a fellow city councilman said he twice caught DeMaio masturbating in a city hall restroom -- an allegation DeMaio denied.

Continue reading "CNN Looks Into the Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Gay GOP Candidate Carl DeMaio: VIDEO" »


Stephen Colbert Presents 'The Gay Civil War': VIDEO

Civil_colbert

With more than 50% of Americans now living in a state where gay people can get married, and House Speaker John Boehner campaigning for gay Republicans like Carl DeMaio, and organizations like NOM and the Family Research Council fighting back for anti-gay Americans, Stephen Colbert sees just one thing in the country's future: The Gay Civil War.

Watch as he unveils his film about this dramatic turning point in our nation's history, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Stephen Colbert Presents 'The Gay Civil War': VIDEO" »


Anti-Gay Groups Launch 'Unprecedented' Campaign Against Pro-LGBT Republican Candidates: READ

Pro-lgbt gop

Anti-gay activist groups The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), Family Research Council Action and CitizenLink are launching “an unprecedented campaign” against three Republican candidates because of their support for marriage equality and abortion, reports Buzzfeed.

Family Research Council Action is the legislative arm of rabidly homophobic listed hate group Family Research Council.

Last month, NOM cofounder Robert George said that he couldn't think of any "logical stopping place" between gay-affirming Christians and pedophile-affirming or serial killer-affirming Christians.

The three ultra-conservative groups “will mount a concerted effort to urge voters to refuse to cast ballots” for Republican House candidates Carl DeMaio [top left] in California, Richard Tisei [middle] in Massachusetts and Republican Senate candidate Monica Wehby [right] in Oregon. DeMaio and Tisei are the only out LGBT Republican federal candidates from the to appear on the ballot this fall.

A letter  - claiming to speak on behalf of all Americans and possibly suggesting a gay recruitment drive - sent to Republican congressional and campaign leaders yesterday reads in part:

“We cannot in good conscience urge our members and fellow citizens to support candidates like DeMaio, Tisei or Wehby. They are wrong on critical, foundational issues of importance to the American people.

Worse, as occupants of high office they will secure a platform in the media to advance their flawed ideology and serve as terrible role models for young people who will inevitably be encouraged to emulate them.”

The letter goes on to warn Republican leaders that it is a “grave error” for the party to support “candidates who do not hold core Republican beliefs and, in fact, are working to actively alienate the Republican base.”

In a statement, NOM President Brian S. Brown said:

Brown“The Republican Party platform is a ‘statement of who we are and what we believe.’ Thus, the platform supports the truth of marriage as the union of husband and wife, and recognizes the sanctity and dignity of human life.

“We cannot sit by when people calling themselves Republicans seek high office while espousing positions that are antithetical to the overwhelming majority of Republicans.”

Read the letter, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Anti-Gay Groups Launch 'Unprecedented' Campaign Against Pro-LGBT Republican Candidates: READ" »


Thursday Speed Read: NOM, Oregon, UCC, DeMaio, Kuehl, Utah, Aiken

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

KennedySUPREME COURT SAYS NO TO NOM:

The U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday denied a request to stop same-sex couples in Oregon from marrying. The request came from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and was directed to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who handles motions from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The one-sentence order Wednesday noted that Kennedy referred the matter to the full court. NOM had sought a stay of a May 19 federal district court ruling declaring Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. NOM had also asked the federal district court for the right to serve as intervenor in a case to defend the state ban after the governor and attorney general made clear they would not. NOM said Wednesday it would continue pressing its appeal for intervenor status to the Ninth Circuit.

UccUCC LAWSUIT GAINS ALLIES:

Three more religious groups joined the United Church of Christ’s lawsuit in North Carolina this week. The Central Conference of American Rabbis (2,000 rabbis), the Alliance of Baptists (130 congregations), and the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists (90 congregations) signed on as plaintiffs in UCC v. Cooper, arguing that the state ban on same-sex couples marrying violates the free exercise of religion for clergy who conduct ceremonies for same-sex couples. On May 27, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper asked the U.S. District Court for Western North Carolina to delay hearing the case until after the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rules on a case against a similar ban in Virginia.

DemaioDEMAIO ADVANCES IN HIS PRIMARY:

Openly gay Republican Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio advanced in his primary Tuesday in San Diego. DeMaio came in second behind incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Peters, a Democrat, but in California’s primaries, the top two vote getters proceed to the November ballot. DeMaio received 36 percent of the vote, compared to Peters’ 42 percent, but he handily beat out two other Republicans who garnered a combined 22 percent.

KUEHL IN RUNOFF WITH SHRIVER:

KuehlOpenly gay California Assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl was the top vote-getter in Tuesday’s primary for a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. She will face second place Bobby Shriver on the November ballot. Kuehl earned 36 percent of the votes in the eight-candidate race, followed by Shriver with 29 percent, and openly gay former West Hollywood Councilman John Duran with 16 percent. No one’s called the race for state controller yet, but it appears openly gay former California Assembly Speaker John Perez may have secured a spot on the November ballot. Perez appears to have come in second behind Republican Ashley Swearengin.

UtahUTAH APPEALS RECOGNITION ORDER:

As expected, the attorney general of Utah filed notice Wednesday that the state will appeal a May 19 federal district court judge’s preliminary injunction requiring that Utah recognize the marriages of an estimated 1,300 same-sex couples that took place before a U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay in another district court judge’s decision striking down the state’s ban. Judge Dale Kimball (a Clinton appointee) delayed his order 21 days to give the state time to appeal his injunction in Evans v. Utah to the Tenth Circuit. A Tenth Circuit panel has already heard arguments in Kitchen v. Herbert, which challenges the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying.

AikenCLAY AIKEN BLAMES PRESIDENT:

Openly gay Congressional candidate Clay Aiken of North Carolina said in a recent interview with CNN that the buck stops with President Obama on the Veterans Administration’s failure to provide medical care to veterans in a timely fashion.

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Gay Conservative Carl DeMaio Advances in California House Race

Gay former San Diego councilman Carl DeMaio and incumbent Congressman Scott Peters will face off in November after last night's primary in the 52nd Congressional District race, KPBS reports:

DemaioPeters has 43 percent of the vote, while DeMaio has 36 percent, with more than half the votes counted so far.

Former Marine Officer Kirk Jorgensen has 17 percent and surgeon Fred Simon has 4 percent of the vote. Simon and Jorgensen are both Republicans. The top two vote-getters, regardless of party, will advance to the November runoff.

DeMaio told supporters at the US Grant hotel downtown that he's calling on the Republican party to be more inclusive.

"San Diegans want the Republican Party in particular to return to its traditional roots in favor of personal freedoms in all aspects of our lives," he said.

He said to change the country, "we must first change our party."

DeMaio's office, you may recall, was vandalized last week. He has been attacked by NOM for a campaign ad in which he held the hands of his partner in a Gay Pride parade. DeMaio has also been attacked by Congressman Randy Forbes.


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