Metro Weekly

Equality Endorsements, Round 4

Equality Maryland PAC releases more endorsements of General Assembly candidates

Equality Maryland PAC, the political action committee for the Free State’s major LGBT-rights organization, released a fourth wave of candidate endorsements for those seeking office in the General Assembly, expanding its total number of legislative endorsements to 91. The organization previously endorsed the ticket of Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman for governor and lieutenant governor, and state Sen. Brian Frosh (D-Montgomery Co.) for attorney general.

The 36 endorsed candidates include one incumbent state senator, four incumbent delegates, and 31 new candidates, all but two of whom are running for the House. To win an endorsement, a candidates must have completed Equality Maryland’s questionnaire gauging their stances on LGBT issues and must have submitted to an interview with Equality Maryland staffers and board members. Legislative incumbents could only be considered if they voted for both the state’s marriage-equality law and the Fairness for All Marylanders Act, a recently passed bill prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity or expression.

”It was amazing and gratifying to meet with candidates from all across the state who proudly support equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Marylanders,” Carrie Evans, the executive director of Equality Maryland, said in a statement. ”We had more than 135 candidates from 10 counties seeking Equality Maryland’s endorsement. The endorsed candidates are an incredibly talented and committed group of individuals who will serve their constituents and our state well in the General Assembly. We urge Equality Maryland supporters to get involved in these campaigns to help elect more LBGT-supportive candidates to the General Assembly.”

The five legislative incumbents endorsed for re-election to their current seats in the fourth round were: Sen. Victor Ramirez (D-Prince George’s Co.), and Delegates Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore City), David Fraser-Hidalgo (D-Montgomery Co.), Sheila Hixson (D-Montgomery Co.), and Bill Frick (D-Montgomery Co.), who recently dropped a bid for attorney general.

The two non-incumbents endorsed for the Senate are Ryan Frederic, running to replace Sen. Allan Kittleman (R-Howard, Carroll counties), who is running for the open Howard County Executive seat; and Cheryl Kagan, running to replace the retiring Sen. Jennie Forehand (D-Montgomery Co.). They join four delegates looking to make the leap to the upper chamber who were endorsed in previous rounds: Susan Lee (D-Montgomery Co.), Veronica Turner (D-Prince George’s Co.), John Olszewski Jr. (D-Baltimore Co.) and Guy Guzzone (D-Howard Co.). All are running for open seats except Turner, who is challenging Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D-Prince George’s Co.), a vocal opponent of the marriage-equality law.

Among the remaining 29 non-incumbents seeking election to the House are the Victory Fund-endorsed Spencer Dove, running for a District 32 seat in Anne Arundel County; and David Moon, a local progressive activist and author of the blog ”Maryland Juice,” who is one of at least four gay men seeking one of two open seats in District 20 being vacated by Dels. Tom Hucker, who is running for Montgomery County Council; and Heather Mizeur, who is running for governor. A full listing of all the endorsements can be found on Equality Maryland’s website.

”Equality Maryland and our supporters have worked diligently for several decades to ensure LGBT equality issues are on the minds and agendas of candidates for public office,” Tim Williams, chair of Equality Maryland PAC, said in a statement. ”The breadth and number of endorsements for the 2014 election cycle demonstrates that candidates take our issues and our endorsement seriously. However, we cannot take support for LGBT issues for granted. Equality Maryland and our supporters intend to work hard to elect pro-equality candidates.”

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