The good and the bad for LGBT and ally candidates in Tuesday’s election
Lisa Keen | Keen News Service
Lesbian attorney Maura Healey made history Tuesday night, Nov. 4, winning election as Massachusetts’ attorney general and becoming the first openly gay person to be elected as attorney general of any state.
But U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud’s chances of becoming the first openly gay person to be elected governor of any state fell short.
There were mixed results for other LGBT candidates Tuesday night. None of the U.S. House’s six openly LGBT members lost re-election, but — so far — three of four challengers seeking election to the House have lost their campaigns.
Election totals are not yet final for Republican Carl DeMaio’s congressional bid in San Diego, but as of early this morning, results showed DeMaio leading with 50.3 percent.
Healey makes history
In Massachusetts, Healey, who served as a deputy attorney general and led that office’s lawsuit against the Defense of Marriage Act, won another stunning victory Tuesday night. A first-time candidate for political office, Healey trounced her Republican opponent by a margin of 63 percent to 37 percent.
Healey won her primary in September against a Democrat who won the endorsement of both the state party and Massachusetts’ pro-gay governor, Deval Patrick.
“When I entered this race, I was a newcomer. I’d never raised a dollar. I’d never asked for a vote,” said Healey, during her victory speech Tuesday night. “But I’ll tell you what: I wasn’t new to being an underdog. And I wasn’t new to the work of the attorney general.”
In thanking her “family,” Healey did not mention her partner, state appeals court Justice Gabrielle Wolohojian. That is probably because the Boston Globe did an article early in the campaign questioning the propriety of Healey holding campaign meetings at the home she shares with Wolohojian, since state law prohibits judges from supporting political campaigns.
Healey did, however, say to her cheering audience, “For those who can’t be here tonight, I love you.”
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin issued a statement Tuesday night, saying, “Maura Healey is one of the staunchest advocates for equality we have in this country, and we join her in celebrating her historic victory tonight. As the nation’s first openly gay attorney general, she is an inspirational trailblazer and will fight to guarantee civil rights and legal equality for all people of Massachusetts.”
Michaud in Maine
In Maine, Michaud got a significant campaign boost one week before the election when third party candidate Eliot Cutler, a staunchly pro-gay contender, told his supporters to vote for whoever they thought could win.
That was seen as a big chance for Michaud to pick up some, if not all, of the 15 percent of the vote Cutler had been taking in the polls. Michaud also had the benefit of several high profile rallies, including events with President Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama.
But at midnight Tuesday, Michaud had picked up only 7 percent of Cutler’s vote, at best. Another 8 percent of Cutler’s supporters voted for the third party candidate. And a CNN exit poll suggests that Michaud’s being gay may have had some influence in a very close race with right-wing Republican Gov. Paul LePage.
All six incumbent openly-gay members of the U.S. House won re-election Tuesday.
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York’s 18th Congressional District had the toughest victory, appearing early on to trail his Republican opponent by 12 points. But as more results came in, Maloney was able to overcome what was otherwise a strong Republican tide across the country at all levels Tuesday.
Maloney was declared the winner on Nov. 6 with 49.6 percent of the vote and a 2,700 vote lead.
The Human Rights Campaign criticized Hayworth for running a television ad in the last week of the campaign that featured her openly gay son Will saying that his mother has “always been there for me.” The Human Rights Campaign scored Hayworth as a 71 — out of a possible 100 — in her record on gay-related issues during her one previous term in the House.
At deadline, three of the four openly gay candidates who made challenges to incumbent members of the U.S. House had lost:
• American Idol finalist Clay Aiken took only 41 percent of the vote in his bid to unseat Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers in North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District. Ellmers has had a zero rating from HRC for her two terms.
• Sean Eldridge, spouse of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, won a New York Times endorsement but only 21 percent of the vote against Republican incumbent Chris Gibson for New York’s 19th Congressional District.
• Openly gay Republican Richard Tisei, who was seen as having a strong chance of winning an open seat in Massachusetts, fell far short, winning only 41 percent of the vote to Democrat Seth Moulton’s 55 percent.
• Results for openly gay Republican Carl DeMaio’s effort to unseat popular pro-gay Democrat Scott Peters showed DeMaio ahead by 750 votes. A recount is expected.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 7, 2014.