Gay candidates don’t fare well in primaries

Posted on 04 Mar 2010 at 6:28pm
By John Wright | News Editor wright@dallasvoice.com

Foster, Loza, Schlein fall short, but Fitzsimmons, Parker advance to November electoral contests


Rob Schlein

It wasn’t exactly a banner day for openly LGBT candidates.

Three of five out candidates who appeared on Tuesday, March 2 primary ballots in Dallas County were defeated.

Openly gay Dallas County Judge Jim Foster, who’s been largely abandoned by both the Democratic Party and the LGBT community, lost his bid for re-election, finishing last out of three candidates with 20 percent of the vote.

Former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem John Loza, who was vying to become the first openly LGBT person elected to the judiciary in Dallas County, finished last out of four candidates for County Criminal Court No. 5, capturing 17 percent of the vote.

And Rob Schlein, president of Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas, lost by just three votes his bid to unseat Homer Adams as precinct chair of Far North Dallas’ 1800.

Adams is the husband of Texas Republican Party Chairwoman Cathie Adams. Cathie Adams is the former president of the Texas Eagle Forum and has been one of the leading anti-gay voices in Dallas in recent decades.

Schlein said Wednesday he would look into the possibility of a recount in the race, which he lost by a margin of 290 votes to 287, according to unofficial results. He added that he was "very disappointed" to have come so close but fallen short.

"I feel like Tony Romo at the end of his first season, when he missed the playoffs by a half a yard," Schlein said. "You always second-guess yourself about what you could have done."

Schlein said Homer Adams sent out a campaign mailer calling attention to the fact that he’s president of Log Cabin.

"He definitely pulled the gay card, and I was really hoping I could win in spite of that," Schlein said, adding that Adams also helped defeat pro-equality resolutions during Tuesday night’s precinct convention.

Contacted by Dallas Voice, Adams declined to comment.

Loza, who was returning to politics for the first time since leaving the Dallas City Council in 2005, blamed his defeat on starting his campaign too late.

"In retrospect I probably should have started this campaign earlier because all of my opponents had pretty much started by the spring of last year, and I didn’t really get started until after Labor Day," Loza said. "Campaigns start earlier these days than they used to."

Loza said he doesn’t think his sexual orientation was a factor in his poor showing. He also said he plans to remain involved in politics and likely will run for office again.

"I still think it’s important to have openly gay members of the judiciary," said Loza, a criminal defense attorney. "That’s still something that I’d certainly consider."

Tonya Parker, a lesbian who’s also hoping to become the first openly LGBT person elected to the judiciary in Dallas County, was unopposed in the primary and will face Republican Mike Lee in November. Parker would also be the first openly LGBT African-American elected official in Dallas County.

The only out candidate to win a contested race Tuesday was Dallas County District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons, who easily defeated challenger Johnny Gomez and now will face Republican Tammy Barnes in November.

Fitzsimmons captured 71 percent of the vote.

"I think it’s a pretty good ringing endorsement for my tenure in office," he said of the result.


A LONG NIGHT | County Judge Jim Foster, seated left, watches Primary Election night returns at his party at the Belmont Hotel. (LisaMarie Martinez/Contributing Photographer)

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 5, 2010.

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