Metro Weekly

D.C. Elects Gay Councilmember Amid Pro-LGBTQ Wave

Ward 5 Zachary Parker becomes first Black out LGBTQ councilmember, and most LGBTQ ANC candidates win their races.

Zachary Parker – Photo: Facebook.

Amid what appeared to be a generally positive night for LGBTQ candidates, voters in Washington, D.C.’s northeast quadrant elected Zachary Parker, a Democrat, to the open Ward 5 Council seat with over 93% of the vote.

Parker, who recently came out as gay just prior to winning the June primary, will become the first out LGBTQ member of the Council in eight years. In 2014, Councilmember David Catania (I-At-Large) jumped into the mayor’s race, vacating his Council seat, which was filled by Elissa Silverman, while Councilmember Jim Grahm (D-Ward 1) went down in defeat to current Councilmember Brianne Nadeau in the primary.

Parker is also the first Black out LGBTQ member of the Council. A self-styled progressive, he has held listening sessions online and in person with voters throughout the ward asking about their top priorities. He favors increasing housing supply to meet the demands of low-income and middle-income residents, greater economic opportunities, and initiatives to prevent violence before it happens.

He also supports targeted housing for LGBTQ youth to address the crisis of youth homelessness — which disproportionately impacts LGBTQ youth in the District — as well as expanded mental health services, ending overindustralization and environmental pollution in some of the ward’s more distressed neighborhoods, and establishing a Circulator bus route in Ward 5.

Besides Parker, there were at least 49 out LGBTQ people running for seats on Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, a local branch of D.C. government in which unpaid citizens deal serve in an advisory role, recommending to the D.C. Council and various city agencies how best to deal with issues related to zoning, economic development, sanitation, city service delivery, and quality of life. 

Of those 49, at least 41 appeared to have emerged victorious on Wednesday morning, with at least one commissioner in each of the city’s eight wards, according to results from the city’s Board of Elections. At least four additional commissioners may be elected, bringing the total to 45, once write-in votes for uncontested seats are tabulated. Those results mirror the successes enjoyed by LGBTQ candidates as part of a “rainbow wave” experienced at the national and state levels. 

In one race for Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3C, Hayden Gise, who won a seat representing the Woodley Park neighborhood, became the city’s only transgender ANC commissioner, following in the footsteps of the retiring Monika Nemeth, who previously represented the Cleveland Park and Forest Hill neighborhoods as a member of ANC 3F.

Several Black, Latino, and Asian LGBTQ candidates were successful on Tuesday, including, but not limited to: ANC Commissioner Anthony Lorenzo Green, of Deanwood; ANC Commissioners Nandini Sen and Ra Amin, of Brookland; Billy Easley, a candidate running for a seat in Columbia Heights; Duvalier Malone, a candidate for a single-member district in Queens Chapel and North Michigan Park; ANC Commissioner Alex Padro, of Shaw; ANC Commissioner Salvador Sauceda-Guzman, of Trinidad; Jamaal Maurice McCants-Pearsall, a candidate running in the city’s Fort Dupont and Randle Highlands neighborhoods; Patricia Eguino, running for a seat in the Swampoodle and NoMa neighborhoods; and ANC Commissioner Edward Daniels, who represents the Navy Yard.

Only six of the known 49 LGBTQ candidates running this cycle were women, and of those, four — Sen, Gise, Eguino, and Rebecca Strauss, who was running for a seat in the city’s Downtown area — were successful. 

In the race for the District’s sole non-voting representative in Congress, openly gay candidate Bruce Majors came in fourth, with 2% of the vote, behind Democratic incumbent Eleanor Holmes Norton, who won with 86% of the vote, Republican Nelson Rimensnyder, who got 6% of the vote, and Statehood Green nominee Natale Lino Stracuzzi, who got about 5% of the vote.

In races lacking out LGBTQ candidates, Mayor Muriel Bowser romped to a strong re-election victory with over 74% of the vote, ahead of challenger Rodney “Red” Grant’s 15% of the vote, Republican Stacia Hall’s 6% of the vote, and Libertarian Dennis Sobin, who earned 1% of the vote.

In the Council Chairman race, incumbent Phil Mendelson won 81% of the vote, easily trouncing Statehood Green Party candidate Darryl Moch and Republican Nate Derenge. In Ward 1, incumbent Councilmember Brianne Nadeau was easily re-elected with over 79% of the vote. In Ward 6, Councilmember Charles Allen, who ran unopposed, was re-elected. In Ward 3, Democrat Matthew Frumin bested Republican David Krucoff by a 75%-24% margin.

In the race for two of the Council’s four At-Large seats, Democratic incumbent Anita Bonds was easily re-elected, earning 32% of all votes cast. Current Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie is leading incumbent Elissa Silverman, 22%-18%, for the second seat, and appears likely to grab the last available seat, although it is unclear how many outstanding ballots — especially those dropped off in ballot boxes on Election Day — there are left to be counted. 

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