Victory Fund candidates fare well in Tuesday’s primaries

Mike_Michaud

Rep. Mike Michaud

According to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, eight of nine endorsed candidates running in yesterday’s primaries won their election.

In Maine, five LGBT candidates will face challengers in November. Among them is U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, who is running for governor. Michaud has served in Congress since 2003 but only came out as gay in 2013. Another is Ryan Fecteau, 22. If elected to the state House of Representatives, Fecteau will become the youngest LGBT state lawmaker in the U.S.

Other wins include Kyle Thorson who secured the Democratic nomination for a North Dakota House seat and Andrew Martin who won the Democratic nomination for Nevada state controller.

—  David Taffet

Martinez gets Victory Fund endorsement

Sara Martinez

Sara Martinez

Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund announced its latest round of endorsements in this year’s elections. Sara Martinez, who is running for Justice of the Peace in Dallas County, is on the list. Martinez already has the endorsement of Stonewall Democrats. In the runoff, she faces Melissa Bellan.

Martinez is running for Justice of the Peace Precinct 5, Place 1, which covers much of North Oak Cliff and Oak Lawn.

Early voting runs May 19 through May 23 and the runoff is May 27.

Of the 18 new endorsements, Victory Fund announced one other candidate from Texas — Jim Evans, who is running for Harris County family court judge in Houston.

Kay Floyd, running for state Senate in Oklahoma, also received one of the Victory Fund’s endorsements this week. Floyd is currently a state representative from Oklahoma City. She is running for state Senate, hoping to replace gay state Sen. Al McAffrey, who is vying for U.S. Congress.

Another local candidate who already received the Victory Fund endorsement is John Turner-McClelland who is running for Denton County Fresh Water Supply Board.

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund works to elect LGBT leaders to public office.

—  David Taffet

Veasey does NOH8 shoot; Hall mistakenly attends gay event

Rep. Marc Veasey, left

Rep. Marc Veasey, left

While one North Texas congressman participated in a photo shoot supporting marriage equality last week, another recently attended a reception for an LGBT group — by mistake.

“This morning, I participated in a NOH8 Campaign photo shoot with over 60 members of Congress,” Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, wrote on his Facebook page on June 13. “As a member of the House LGBT Equality Caucus, I am proud to stand in support of marriage equality and equal rights for all Americans.”

He posted the photo above from tho shoot.

“Stay tuned for the official portrait,” he said.

—  David Taffet

Kay Floyd wins runoff, set to become Oklahoma’s 1st lesbian legislator

Kay Floyd

Kay Floyd, a lesbian, won a Democratic primary runoff on Tuesday to succeed state Sen. Al McAffrey in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Floyd, an Oklahoma City attorney and administrative law judge, decided to run for the seat when McAffrey, who is also gay, gave it up after winning a special election to fill a vacancy in the state Senate. Floyd received 63 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s runoff.

McAffrey congratulated Floyd on Facebook.

“A big congratulations to my friend Kay Floyd on her well-deserved win last night. Now on to November where she will defeat her Republican opponent!” he wrote.

Floyd has served as an assistant state attorney general and as deputy executive director for the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission. In addition to serving as an administrative law judge since 1989, she has been a special municipal court judge for Oklahoma City for 22 years.

Floyd is endorsed by the Washington, D.C.-based Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. In November, she faces a Republican opponent, but the district is heavily Democratic. If elected, she would become the first lesbian to serve in the Oklahoma Legislature.

—  David Taffet

Victory Fund endorses out lesbian Ann Johnson in Texas House race in Houston

The Washington D.C.-based Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund announced 17 endorsements Tuesday including Houston’s Ann Johnson.

Johnson, who is the daughter of former state Rep. Jake Johnson, ran unopposed in the Democratic Primary in House District 134. She will face against one-term Republican incumbent Sarah Davis in November.

Johnson is a former prosecutor who handles child advocacy cases in a private practice, representing victims of bullying and harassment in public schools.

If Johnson wins in November, she will be the second lesbian voters send to the state House after Mary Gonzalez’s election in the Democratic Primary in May. Gonzalez doesn’t have Republican opponent in the general election.

Victory Fund spokesman Denis Dison said having two openly LGBT legislators join the Texas House would intensify the impact and change in dialogue among the conservative-controlled House.

“Ann’s deep experience as an assistant district attorney and legal advocate for kids makes her well-suited to serve in the Texas House,” he told Instant Tea. “She is carrying on her family’s impressive legacy of public service, and we are proud to support her campaign.”

Look for more about Gonzalez and Johnson in Friday’s Dallas Voice.

—  Dallasvoice

1 gay candidate wins, 1 loses in city elections

Scott Sherman

Scott Sherman was re-elected to the Pearland City Council on Saturday, keeping the number of openly LGBT city council members in Texas at three.

Sherman, a 37-year-old attorney who specializes in commercial litigation, was elected to a second three-year term in an at-large seat representing the entire city. Pearland (pronounced “pear-land,” like the fruit) is a fast-growing suburb near the Gulf Coast south of Houston that has a population of more than 90,000.

In 2009, Sherman won the seat by just 30 votes in a runoff. This year, he was unopposed, which he called “an amazing thing” given the close race three years ago.

“I think for the last three years I’ve shown the residents that I’m a hard worker, that I’m looking out for them, and I’ve kind of proven myself on being responsive to all the residents, so it paid off,” Sherman said.

Last week we reported that Sherman was the only openly LGBT person running for a council seat in Texas this year. At the time we weren’t aware that Audrey “Tina” Cannon, who’s openly gay, was seeking the Place 5 council seat in Austin. Cannon was one of several candidates challenging incumbent Bill Spelman, who avoided a runoff by capturing 58 percent of the vote on Saturday. Cannon finished third, with 10 percent.

With Cannon’s defeat, Sherman remains one of only three out city council members in Texas, along with Fort Worth’s Joel Burns and Houston’s Mike Laster, according to the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.

Sherman said he’s heard there was a whisper campaign against him during the runoff in 2009, but other than that his sexual orientation hasn’t been an issue.

“We have a very diverse city and I kind of credit our diversity to some of the reason why it’s never been an issue,” he said.

This year, Sherman was endorsed by the Victory Fund.

Asked why he chooses to run as an out candidate, Sherman said: “It’s important to me for kids out there who are not out to realize that you can do whatever you want and you shouldn’t be ashamed and you shouldn’t have to hide, and if you can be a community leader and you want to put yourself before the voters, then you should do that. And I think we lead by example.”

 

—  John Wright

Openly gay candidate Al McAffrey elected to Oklahoma Senate in special election

Sen. Al McAffrey

Oklahoma has its first openly gay state senator after Al McAffrey, 63, was elected Tuesday in a special election.

McAffrey was first elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2006 and easily won reelection in 2008 and 2010. In the Tuesday election, he won with more than 66 percent of the vote, according to the Daily Oklahoman. He will be sworn into office next week.

He was endorsed by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.

During his time in office, McAffrey was a leader on legislation supporting senior citizens, education issues and access to affordable health care. He was also one of the state House’s most vocal critics against Republican Rep. Sally Kern and her anti-gay agenda.

McAffrey’s district includes much of Oklahoma City. With his election, Democrats have 16 seats in the state Senate and Republicans have a 32-seat super-majority.

—  David Taffet

In case you hadn’t noticed, Texas is now down to just 3 openly gay city council members

A Victory Fund spokesman called Chris Hightower’s defeat in Arlington ‘heartbreaking.’

As we mentioned in our big election roundup from Saturday night, three gay city council candidates lost runoffs in Texas — Randi Shade in Austin, Elena Guajardo in San Antonio, and Chris Hightower in Arlington.

Shade was the only incumbent of the three, and her departure from office will leave Texas, the second-largest state in the nation, with just three openly LGBT city council members — Joel Burns in Fort Worth, Sue Lovell in Houston, and Scott Sherman in Pearland.

Openly gay Kemp City Councilman Jerry Hazelip didn’t seek re-election this year. And the two gay council candidates in Dallas, James Nowlin and Casie Pierce, lost their races May 14.

Of course, Texas still has plenty of LGBT appointed and elected officials (view the full list here), including high-profile ones like Mayor Annise Parker in Houston and Sheriff Lupe Valdez in Dallas — but nevertheless the lack of gay council members is cause for concern, according to Denis Dison, a spokesman for the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.

Dison said the Victory Fund, which endorsed both Hightower and Shade, doesn’t keep a running total of the number of gay city council members in each state. But he noted that Texas is one of the few big states that lack an out legislator, and city councils are often a stepping stone to higher office.

“Chris Hightower’s loss was heartbreaking, both because he came so close and because he was subject to some pretty awful anti-gay politicking,” Dison told Instant Tea today. “My understanding is Shade’s loss had nothing to do with her sexual orientation.

“Municipal offices like those are very important because that’s often where future state legislators get their start, and Texas really needs an openly LGBT voice in the Capitol.

“We hope our progress is constant, but sometimes the challenges seem to bunch up and we’ve got to redouble our efforts,” Dison said. “We’ve seen a lot of success in Texas and I think we’ll continue to see good people decide to run from both parties.”

Really? Both parties? A gay Republican candidate in Texas? Now that would be something.

—  John Wright

President Barack Obama has made more LGBT appointments than any commander-in-chief

Col. Margarete Camermeyer
Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer

The Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute published a list of Obama administration appointees.

The institute trains LGBT candidates on how to run an effective campaign and is related to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which helps raise money for endorsed candidates.

Some of the better-known names include Margarethe Cammermeyer, who is a member of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services. Cammermeyer is the highest-ranking woman to be dismissed from the military.

Brian Bond, who formerly headed the Victory Fund, now serves as deputy director, White House Office of Public Engagement.

Vic Basile, the first executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, is now senior counselor to the director of the Office of Personnel Management.

—  David Taffet

Why Texas needs an LGBT legislator

Rep. Deborah Mell
Rep. Deborah Mell

Deborah Mell, 41, is an Illinois legislator.

This week, she got up on the House floor and announced her engagement to her girlfriend. From The Chicago Sun-Times:

“I know our governor and many of you on both sides of the aisle do not consider me equal to you and our relationship equal to the relationship you share with your spouse,” Mell said. “I think we are more alike than we are different.”

Other legislators got up to congratulate her and others applauded.

But they’ll get married in Iowa because Illinois does not have marriage equality.

According to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, no state has passed significant pro-equality legislation without an openly LGBT legislator. Texas has had only one, Rep. Glen Maxey, who served from 1991 until 2003. In 2001, Maxey helped pushed through the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act, the only signficant pro-equality legislation in the state’s history.

Mell’s announcement hit home in the Illinois House chamber. Now let’s see if her colleagues do anything about it.

—  David Taffet