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Clay Aiken Fights For First Place During NC Second District Debate: VIDEO

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Good ole' Clay Aiken! The openly gay American Idol runner-up fought his way through a debate Monday night with North Carolina second district representative (and opponent) Renee Ellmers. Ellmers has reportedly attempted to tie together Aiken and President Obama's beliefs in an attempt to win her congressional seat once again this November, but Aiken was not having it. 

ABC News reports:

“This Obama-Aiken economy is just killing us,” Ellmers said.

“You might need to get a new writer because calling it the Obama-Aiken economy is just preposterous,” Aiken responded.

According to Talking Points Memo, Aiken recently spoke with The New York Times about the very same topic, stating that there are "certainly areas where I disagree with [Obama]." Still, Ellmers kept digging, this time alluding to Aiken's vocal prowess and showmanship while discussing the U.S. military.

“It's almost as if as an entertainer, you believe that you can just go in with a song and dance and change the mind of the military leaders,” she said.

Aiken's priceless retort?

“The most embarrassing reality show in the country right now is Congress,” he said.

Good on you, Mr. Aiken!

Let's just hope that his pseudo-fame can make a difference. According to past elections, he has an uphill battle: President Obama lost there by over 10 percentage points in both 2008 and 2012.

Check out news coverage of the debate, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Clay Aiken Fights For First Place During NC Second District Debate: VIDEO" »


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.


Clay Aiken Wins Democratic Congressional Primary in North Carolina

American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken has won the hotly contested Democratic primary in for the 2nd Congressional District seat in North Carolina, the AP reports:

Clay aikenAiken will face Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers in November in the GOP-leaning district where Mitt Romney won nearly six in 10 votes in 2012. Ellmers won by 56 percent that year and is looking for a third term. The county-by-county tally of the 2nd Congressional District race posted by the state Tuesday confirmed Aiken got more than 40 percent of the vote needed to win the three-candidate race.

Aiken suspended his campaign Monday following news that second-place finisher Keith Crisco, 71, died suddenly after falling at his home.


Keith Crisco, Clay Aiken's Opponent in NC Congressional Primary, Dies Suddenly

Keith Crisco, who was locked in a North Carolina congressional race with Clay Aiken died at his home on Monday, WGHP reports:

CriscoReports suggest he suffered injuries from a fall at his home on Thayer Drive in Asheboro around 1 p.m. Monday. Crisco was dead when emergency services arrived at the scene, City Manager John Ogburn confirmed.

The District 2 race was considered “too close to call,” but Aiken lead Crisco by 369 votes.

Crisco released a statement on Wednesday saying he was not yet ready to concede.

“This election is still very tight,” he said. “I want the elections’ officials to have an opportunity to tally the votes and provide a report on their canvass activities to allow all the campaigns a chance to see the final numbers. This has been a great campaign and I am very appreciative of my supporters and the hard work that the county boards of elections are doing at this time.”

The NC GOP released a statement:

“We are incredibly shocked and saddened to hear about Keith Crisco’s sudden passing. Keith was an accomplished businessman and public servant with a sterling reputation and a tremendous amount of respect from North Carolinians across the partisan spectrum. Keith, like my father, served the state as Commerce Secretary with dignity and humility, and also like my father, passed away well before his time. Keith’s family is in our thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.”

UPDATE: Aiken released a statement:

"I am stunned and deeply saddened by Keith Crisco's death. Keith came from humble beginnings. No matter how high he rose  to Harvard, to the White House and to the Governor's Cabinet  he never forgot where he came from. He was a gentleman, a good and honorable man and an extraordinary public servant. I was honored to know him. I am suspending all campaign activities as we pray for his family and friends."


Friday Speed Read: Darrin Gayles, Indiana Marriage, Mike Michaud, Clay Aiken

GaylesNOMINEE ADVANCES OUT OF COMMITTEE:

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, by voice vote, recommended the confirmation of openly gay federal district court nominee Darrin Gayles. A vote on the nomination had been scheduled for last week, but Republicans on the committee held over the vote on Gayles’ nomination and that of three others to the district court in southern Florida. Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) noted Thursday that both senators from Florida have given their consent to advancing all four nominees. The nomination of a previous openly gay African American man to the federal bench in Miami was killed when Senator Marco Rubio raised objections. If cleared by the full Senate, Gayles will be the first openly gay African American male to be confirmed to a federal bench seat.

INDIANA PRELIMINARY VICTORY: Sandler

A federal district court judge ruled Thursday that Indiana’s ban on recognizing same-sex marriages harms a same-sex couple “in numerous tangible and intangible ways.” In doing so, Judge Richard Young ordered the state to recognize the marriage license obtained out of state by Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler to protect Sandler’s rights to care Quasney, who is near death from ovarian cancer. The order also requires Indiana, upon Quasney’s death, to list Sandler as her spouse on the death certificate. Young ruled that he doubts Indiana’s ban “will suffer a different fate than those around the country,” where other federal district courts have consistently found them unconstitutional. Last month, Judge Young granted a temporary restraining order requiring Indiana to recognize the Quasney-Sandler marriage license obtained in Massachusetts. Lambda Legal brought the case, Baskin v. Bogan, on behalf of several couples and the court must still consider the merits of the overall challenge to the state’s ban. Lambda staff attorney Paul Castillo, said that, “while this family is experiencing urgent, life-threatening medical circumstances, they’re just one of the thousands of same-sex couples in Indiana enduring real financial and dignitary harm due to the State’s discriminatory marriage ban. Our work in Indiana is not done.  All same-sex couples in Indiana need the security only marriage provides.”

DEM POLL SHOWS MICHAUD BACK IN LEAD: Michaud

Democracy for America, a group founded by former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, announced Thursday that its poll of 754 Maine voters finds openly gay U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud four points ahead of incumbent Republican Governor Paul LePage. Asked who they would vote for if the election were held today, 43 percent said Michaud, 39 percent said LePage, 15 percent said independent candidate Eliot Cutler, and three percent were undecided. Michaud and LePage have been running very close in polls in the past month. A Republican-leaning polling firm, Rasmussen Reports, called the race a tie based on data it gathered between April 23 and 25 from 830 “likely voters.” A Huffington Post analysis of 10 polls (but not the Democracy for America data) estimated Michaud at 40.6 percent, LePage at 37.9 percent, Cutler at 15.9 percent.

C_aikenAIKEN MAY FACE RUN-OFF:

There are 276 uncounted ballots in openly gay U.S. House candidate Clay Aiken’s Democratic primary race against two competitors in North Carolina’s Congressional District 2. That doesn’t give second-place candidate Keith Crisco a chance to catch up to Aiken, who has a 369-vote lead. But it could give him enough to drop Aiken’s vote tally below the 40 percent margin needed to avoid a run-off. And the Raleigh News-Observer reported Thursday that business Keith Crisco has not conceded the race and that, if a run-off is necessary, it will take place in July.

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


Thursday Speed Read: Clay Aiken, Closeted on the Job, Heather Mizeur, Maryland, HIV Criminalization

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

AikenAIKEN VICTORY STILL PENDING:

North Carolina election officials will review the outcome of the Congressional District 2 Democratic primary race on May 15, after they’ve had a chance to tally in absentee and challenged ballots. As of Wednesday afternoon, openly gay candidate Clay Aiken, of American Idol fame, held just over 40 percent of the vote with a 369-vote lead over businessman Keith Crisco.

53 PERCENT CLOSETED ON THE JOB:

A report released Wednesday by the Human Rights Campaign’s educational arm says that 53 percent of LGBT people keep their sexual orientation secret at their places of employment. According to the report, only 17 states and Washington, D.C., have laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Another four states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation only. The report, “The Cost of the Closet and the Rewards of Inclusion,” surveyed 800 LGBT workers and an unspecified number of non-LGBT workers.

MizeurMIZEUR HANDLES FIRST DEBATE:

Openly lesbian Maryland gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur stayed above the fray and focused like a laser on the need to increase the minimum wage and the virtues of legalizing marijuana. Mizeur, a delegate in the state House, was participating Wednesday night in the first debate in the three-way race for the Democratic nomination June 24. Mizeur ranks behind both Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown and Attorney General Doug Gansler in polls. But a transcript of the debate published by the Washington Post, indicates Mizeur managed a solid performance.

MarijuanaMARIJUANA FOR CHILDREN?

At one point during Wednesday night’s debate, Maryland gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur was questioned about her support for legalizing marijuana. She noted, among other things, that legalization could provide tax revenue to pay for a universal pre-Kindergarten. Mizeur then added that it would send “an important message about the fact that this is a substance that is arguably less harmful to the body than alcohol and tobacco.” That awkward juxtaposition of pre-Kindergarten and marijuana being “arguably less harmful” apparently prompted this question from moderator David Gregory of Meet the Press: “Are you comfortable saying to the children of this state, ‘marijuana’s okay’?” “We’re not saying that to the children of this state,” replied Mizeur, noting that, in fact, her plan calls for spending $4 million a year to make sure children know marijuana is a “a very dangerous substance for a developing mind.”

HolderREPORT URGES DOJ ACTION:

A report Wednesday from a coalition of groups working on fair treatment of people by the criminal justice system recommends the U.S. Department of Justice amend its guidelines to stop profiling of LGBT people and people with HIV by federal law enforcement agents. The “Roadmap for Change: Federal Policy Recommendations for Addressing the Criminalization of LGBT People and People with HIV,” was developed by former NGLTF Executive Director Urvashi Vaid and former AIDS Project Director at Lambda Legal Catherine Hanssens and others. DOJ announced in January it would revise its rules for federal agents to prohibit the use of sexual orientation and other characteristics to prompt investigations. In April, Attorney General Eric Holder said the department would begin to collect data on people stopped or arrested to “reduce” the possible effects of bias. But he did not make specific mention of LGBT bias. In a preface to the coalition report, former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous notes that New York City police have used “stop and frisk” practices against LGBT people. Another of the Roadmap’s authors, Andrea Ritchie, co-coordinator of the LGBT group Streetwise and Safe, said the coalition members have spoken with DOJ about some of their recommendations and look forward to conversations in the future.

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


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