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Election 2011 Round-up

Big night for openly LGBT candidates in state, local races across the nation

Wednesday, November 9, 2011
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It was a big night for many openly gay and lesbian candidates across the nation, with several races resulting in first-time victories for openly LGBT candidates in several state and local governments.

Following is a round-up of election returns from around the nation. Check back for updates, and click the links for special reports on those candidates and their races:

In Houston, Texas, Mayor Annise D. Parker has been re-elected to a second term on Tuesday. Parker is Houston’s second female mayor, and was the first elected gay mayor of a major U.S. city.

In an historic contest, voters in New London, Conn., chose a political newcomer, openly gay attorney Daryl Justin Finizio as the city’s first elected mayor in nearly nine decades.

Alex Morse, a 22-year-old graduate of Brown University, was elected mayor of Holyoke, Mass., a city of nearly 40,000 residents near Springfield, becoming the nation’s youngest openly gay mayor.

LaWana Mayfield won her race for Charlotte, N.C., City Council, becoming that city’s first openly LGBT elected official. She was heavily favored after ousting the incumbent Democrat in the primary earlier this year.

And in Virginia, State Del. Adam Ebbin was elected to the state Senate, making him the Commonwealth’s first openly gay senator.

Following are results of additional state and local races, as reported by Victory Fund, a political action group focused on increasing the number of openly LGBT public officials in U.S. political life:

Indiana

Zach Adamson has won his race for city council in Indianapolis, giving the city its first openly LGBT city council member.

Adamson was among four Democrats to sweep the council race, giving the party a 17-12 majority over Republicans on the council.

“This is a milestone for Indianapolis and a remarkable victory for Zach. We couldn’t be happier for him and for the LGBT community in Indianapolis,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund.

Montana

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

Caitlin works as part of the Pride Foundation and also runs a small massage and pilates business. She has previously worked for YWCA Missoula, served as interim Director of the Montana Innocence Project and has volunteered for NCBI Missoula, the GUTS Program, Forward Montana and Montana Women Vote.

Copple was among 75 openly LGBT candidates endorsed by the Victory Fund, many of whom are winning their races this evening.

New Jersey

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

In addition to his record of public service, Eustace runs his own private practice as a chiropractor with his partner of 31 years, Kevin Williams.

The couple has two adopted sons.

Eustace will join Assemblymember Reed Gusciora, who won his reelection bid, as New Jersey’s only openly gay state lawmakers.

Ohio

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

Seelbach, 31, is vice president and chief financial officer of The Seidewitz Group, a marketing and consulting firm.

The council also will be majority Democrat.

“This is an important victory for LGBT people in Cincinnati and for Chris, who will be an outstanding leader on the council. We were proud to endorse him and support his campaign,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund.

Other races:

In North Carolina, openly gay Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt won his reelection bid with 78 percent of the vote. Openly gay 22-year-old and recent University of North Carolina graduate Lee Storrow won his race for a seat on the Chapel Hill Town Council. Storrow is the youngest member to serve on the council in 20 years.

In Iowa, Democrat Liz Mathis was victorious in a special Iowa state Senate race on Tuesday, allowing her party to retain control of the chamber, blocking Republican efforts to overturn the state’s gay marriage law.

In an overwhelming victory, Traverse City voters on Tuesday chose to keep the city’s local non-discrimination ordinance on the books. The ordinance, passed last year by the City Commission, prohibits discrimination against gay and transgender residents in employment and housing.

In San Francisco, openly gay candidate Bevan Dufty lost his bid for mayor to incumbet Ed Lee.

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