Metro Weekly

2018 Elections: LGBTQ candidates soar in Maryland, stumble in District elections

Maryland's LGBTQ representation increases, but out candidates in the District fall short

Dionne Bussey-Reeder

It was a tale of two cities when it came to LGBTQ candidates in the D.C. area on Tuesday.

In Maryland, even though Republican Gov. Larry Hogan won a commanding victory over former head of the NAACP and pro-LGBTQ ally Ben Jealous, he proved to have few coattails. Instead, Democrats retained a veto-proof majority in the state legislature, picking up seats in the House of Delegates and losing only one seat in the State Senate. 

Notably, due to the performance of Democrats down ticket, several LGBTQ candidates will be sworn into office in Annapolis come January. One of those is Del. Mary Washington (D-Baltimore City), who earned a promotion from voters, making her the first lesbian and first African-American LGBTQ person elected to the State Senate.

In the House, Gabriel Acevero, running in the 39th District, became the first openly gay Afro-Latino elected to the Maryland General Assembly, and incumbent LGBTQ lawmakers Bonnie Cullison (D-Montgomery Co.), Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City), Anne Kaiser (D-Montgomery Co.) and Maggie McIntosh (D-Baltimore City) swept to re-election. Elsewhere, incumbent Liz Barrett was re-elected to the Frederick County Board of Education, and, in a historic first, Silver Spring resident Evan Glass became the first openly gay elected member of the Montgomery County Council, winning an At-Large seat.

Tuesday was not so kind to LGBTQ candidates in the District, where all seven out candidates appearing on the ballot lost. In the race for two At-Large Council seats, lesbian restaurateur and community organizer Dionne Reeder, an independent, came in third behind Democrat Anita Bonds and Independent Elissa Silverman. 

In Ward 1, openly gay independent candidate Jamie Sycamore lost his race against incumbent Councilmember Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1). Reeder and Sycamore’s losses ensure there will be no out LGBTQ Council members, although a couple dozen LGBTQ individuals in various wards were victorious in the less-heralded ANC races.

Elsewhere, gay community activist and education reform advocate Jason Andrean lost to Emily Gasoi in a three-way race for the Ward 1 seat on the State Board of Education.

The D.C. Libertarian Party, which ran a history-making all-gay slate for citywide races, saw all of their candidates fall short. Ethan Bishop-Henchman, who lost to incumbent Council Chair Phil Mendelson (D), was the party’s top-vote getter, earning 17,000 votes, or 8% of the vote. His husband, Joe Henchman, was the next highest performer, earning 6% in his race against Attorney General Karl Racine. Meanwhile, Martin Moulton failed to unseat Mayor Muriel Bowser, and Bruce Majors lost his race against Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton for her seat in Congress.

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