LGBT candidates prevail at the polls

Louis Weisberg from WiG and wire reports

Virginia elected its first openly gay senator, Democrat Adam Ebbin, in a district that encompasses a swath of suburban Washington, D.C., making him one of more than 50 LGBT candidates elected to office in the Nov. 8 election.

“We’re thrilled for Adam and for LGBT Virginians, who will finally have an authentic LGBT voice in the state senate,” Victory Fund president and CEO Chuck Wolfe said in a press release. “The Victory Fund has been proud to support Adam throughout his career. He’s been a persistent champion for fairness and equality, and we congratulate him.”

In the highest profile of the races, Houston’s out lesbian mayor Annise Parker narrowly won re-election to a second term. Parker was the first out candidate to be elected mayor of a major U.S. city.

“I had five opponents. Plus, I had the economy, and that was a tough opponent,” Parker said in her victory speech.

Houston also elected its first openly gay man to city council – Mike Laster. 

Openly gay Alex Morse was elected mayor of Holyoke, Mass., making the Brown University graduate the youngest mayor in the nation at age 22. The city of 40,000 is located in the western part of the state, about eight miles north of Springfield.

Morse has had the political bug since grammar school, joining his city’s youth commission at age 11. He was elected freshman class president at Holyoke High School when he was 15.

“I think of my age as an incredible asset, in that I haven’t been around for 20, 30 years. I’m not beholden to special interests. I haven’t been around long enough to owe anybody a political favor,” Morse said in an interview reported by CBS News.

Morse beat the 67-year-old incumbent, Elaine Pluta, by capturing 53 percent of the vote.

Other LGBT winners on Nov. 8 included:

• LaWana Mayfield became the first openly LGBT person elected to Charlotte, N.C., City Council. She was heavily favored after ousting the incumbent Democrat in a primary race earlier this year.

• Openly gay attorney Daryl Justin Finizio was elected mayor of London, Conn.

• Caitlin Copple, an out lesbian who was endorsed by the Victory Fund, won her race for the Missoula, Mont., city council, defeating an incumbent who voted against an LGBT non-discrimination ordinance.

• Mayor Tim Eustace of Maywood, N.J., was elected to the New Jersey Assembly, becoming the first openly gay non-incumbent to win a seat in that state’s legislature.

• In Cincinnati, Chris Seelbach won his race for city council, becoming the first openly LGBT council member in the city’s history.

• Daniel Hernandez Jr., the intern who helped save the life of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was elected to the Pima County, Ariz., school board.

• Robin Kniech became first openly LGBT member of the Denver City Council.