Looking Locally

As the nation turned out to vote, D.C. was no different

In the District of Columbia – a vastly Democratic jurisdiction – the real excitement is September’s Democratic primary. When Vincent Gray secured the party’s nomination to run for mayor in Tuesday’s general election, his victory was all but secured. So there’s certainly no surprise that unofficial results Wednesday morning showed Gray winning about 75 percent of the vote.

Down the line, conventional wisdom held. In partisan races, Democrats won the day, as usual. In the Ward 3 City Council race, Democrat Mary Cheh held her seat, though her Republican challenger got closer than most to upsetting the status quo – but with only about 35 percent of the vote.

Accordingly, Jeffrey Richardson, president of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, was in a good mood Wednesday morning.

”We are very happy that everything held in the District,” said Richardson, who enjoyed seeing all Stein-endorsed candidates win their races, as well as Gray’s strong post-primary showing, despite a write-in campaign for incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) that was not supported by Fenty.

”I think it shows that Democrats in the District of Columbia are ready to move forward,” he said Wednesday. ”I think folks are ready for a government working together, with the mayor talking to the City Council, the mayor working in concert with the delegate to Congress.”

Understandably, Robert Turner’s Wednesday morning may not have been as bright as Richardson’s. Turner is the president of the local chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans, the Stein Democrats’ LGBT Republican counterpart. Turner’s chapter endorsed four candidates in this year’s election, two of them gay, all of them advocates for equality.

”The biggest thing I took out of the election is our community didn’t really take into consideration our two gay candidates, Marc Morgan and Tim Day,” he said. Morgan attempted to unseat gay Ward 1 City Council incumbent Jim Graham, in a field of three that also included Statehood Green candidate Nancy Shia who edged slightly ahead of Morgan, even if Graham was far and away the clear winner. Notably, that Republican with the best showing, David Hedgepeth in Ward 3, was also an LCR-endorsed candidate.

Turner did see something of a bright spot, though, with LCR ally Patrick Mara winning the Ward 1 Board of Education seat. As that’s a nonpartisan office, however, LCR made no endorsement.

Turner grants that his group has an uphill battle in D.C., but insists his chapter is not disheartened by Tuesday’s results.

”Part of the problem is we’re here in Washington, where it’s difficult sometimes to separate Capitol Hill Republicans from D.C. Republicans,” he said Wednesday, pointing out that when it comes to Republicans, the D.C. sort are well to the more progressive side of the scale, compared to their national peers. ”But there’s not a chance we’re giving up. We’re in it for the long haul.”

In a race that had less to do with people than with protocol, D.C. voters also overwhelmingly voted to make the D.C. attorney general post an elected position, rather than a mayoral appointee.

Among gay groups, the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance took a public stance on the charter amendment, strongly backing the measure.

”I didn’t really have any serious doubt about it,” said Richard Rosendall, GLAA’s vice president for political affairs. ”The one reasonable concern raised against was those who said they were concerned that the attorney general would become politicized. The trouble is, the position is already politicized.”

Rosendall said the GLAA, which rates candidates in D.C.’s partisan races, has not yet discussed whether they’ll rate attorney general candidates come 2014, but that it is likely.

Meanwhile, beyond the District line, Maryland also made history Nov. 2, sending a record number of LGBT candidates to Annapolis, according to Equality Maryland: Incumbent Rich Madaleno (D-Dist. 18) returns to the State Senate, along with incumbent Delegates Heather Mizeur (D-Dist. 20), Anne Kaiser (D-Dist. 14) and Maggie McIntosh (D-Dist. 43). They’ll be joined by freshman Delegates Bonnie Cullison (D-Dist. 19), Mary Washington (D-Dist 43) and Luke Clippinger (D-Dist. 46).

Chuck Butler, Equality Maryland’s board president, added that while his group endorsed all seven, a total of 73 of 81 Equality Maryland-endorsed candidates won.

Follow Will O'Bryan on Twitter @wobryan.

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