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Florida elects first openly gay legislator

David Richardson is the first openly gay candidate elected to the Florida House of Representatives.

Richardson won the Democratic primary for District 113 in Miami Beach on Aug. 14, edging out three opponents. With no opposition in the general election, he’ll be Tallahassee-bound this winter.

Florida, according to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, was the largest U.S. state never to have elected an openly gay candidate to the state house or senate. Florida also is the largest state lacking a law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Responding to Richardson’s win on Aug. 14, Chuck Wolfe of the Victory Fund said, “David’s election sends a message to Tallahassee that LGBT Floridians will be heard.  Finally, we will have an authentic LGBT voice in the state capitol who will be unafraid to speak up and speak out for fairness.”

Wolfe is from Florida, where he served as an aide to the late Gov. Lawton Chiles.

Another openly gay candidate, Joe Saunders, won his primary on Aug. 14 and advances to the general election to represent Florida House District 49 near Orlando in Orange County. Saunders won on primary day with a 30-point margin of victory.

A third openly gay candidate, Ian Whitney, is running in the November election to represent Key West in the Legislature. He did not have a primary opponent.

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