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Volume 33
Issue 38

 
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Primary results a mixed bag for the LGBT community
Primary results a mixed bag for the LGBT community
'You're fired!' Bigoted King County Councilmember Steve Hammond shown the door

By Robert Raketty & Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid, SGN Staff Writers

The primary election on Tuesday, September 20th, proved to be a mixed bag for the region's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community. Although staunch conservative King County Councilmember Steve Hammond lost his primary election to fellow Republican Reagan Dunn, some allies of the LGBT community face strong challengers come November

King County Executive Ron Sims received 69 percent of the Democratic vote, easily defeating his challengers in the three-way race. Sims, a longtime and outspoken advocate for LGBT equal rights, received 44 percent of all votes cast, versus Republican David Irons who received only 31 percent. Irons and Sims will face off in the November 8 general election.

In the King County Council races, Bob Ferguson barely beat fellow Democrat Carolyn Edmonds in the District One race. Edmonds was scored slightly higher (4) by the Seattle Metropolitan Elections Committee than Ferguson, who received a rating of 3 out of 5 possible. Ferguson will advance to the general election to face off with Republican Steve Pyeatt.

"Neither Democrat is a bad candidate for our community, but in my opinion Carolyn Edmonds outshines Bob Ferguson. Edmonds has a long record of supporting us during her career in both the state legislature and the county council," said Seattle resident and LGBT activist Bill Dubay. "As chair of the [Greater Seattle Business Association's] candidate forum, it was blatantly obvious to me who values our community more. Ms. Edmonds showed up and responded to our questions, while Mr. Ferguson was a no-show."

King County Councilmember Steve Hammond, a virulent opponent of LGBT equality, lost his race for the District 9 position to challenger Reagan Dunn, son to former Republican Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn. Hammond had opposed pro-LGBT measures that came before the King County Council, attended a Focus on the Family conference which claimed to offer "freedom from homosexuality," and had sought the endorsement of Focus on the Family Founder Dr. James Dobson. Dunn will now face Democrat Shirley Gaunt-Smith in November.

"It remains to be seen where the winner of this race, Reagan Dunn, will come down on LGBT issues, but he isn't likely to be worse, or even as bad as Steve Hammond," said Dubay. "From my experience, I'd say that Mr. Hammond has been hostile to us and I'm glad to see him go."

Including write-in votes, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, a strong supporter of LGBT equality, received 55 percent the vote in the eight-way race. Former University of Washington Professor Al Runte, received just 22 percent. The two will face off in the general election. Nickels entered the national spotlight when he signed an executive order that required the city to recognize the marriages and civil unions of same-sex partners.

On the Seattle City Council, three incumbents faced challengers. Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin maintained a lead (49 percent) over Paige Miller, who received 37 percent of the vote. The two will advanced to the general election, while Darlene Madenwald, who received only 14 percent, will not.

Seattle City Councilmember Jan Drago came out on top in her four-way race with 43 percent of the vote. Following behind, Casey Corr received 25 percent; Linda Averill picked up 17 percent; and Angel Bolanos carried 15 percent of the vote.

"Although she seldom seeks or gets the credit she deserves as a longtime supporter of our community, [Drago] has never let us down," said Dubay. "We should remember that when the mayor wanted to combine the office of women's rights, human rights and sexual minority (LGBT) rights - which would weaken, if not deny us a voice in city government - it was Jan's opponent, Casey Corr, who supported the move, while Jan came down on our side."

On Tuesday, at the offices of Radical Women, there was celebrating as Averill's numbers continued to rise and her percentage of votes increased. By evening's end, she had 18 percent of the votes that had been counted at the end of the polling. However, Socialist Party candidate and Radical Women member Averill fell well short of gaining enough votes to face off with incumbent City Councilmember Jan Drago.

Christal Wood, who challenged incumbent Mayor Nickels' seat, had only gained four votes by evening's end on Tuesday. She had the backing of the Progressive Party. Like Averill, Wood scored the third highest vote totals, a favorable showing for third party candidates. That reality wasn't lost on Radical Women members and Socialist Party supporters at last Tuesday's primary party. They were happy that Averill, who ran on a platform of raising the minimum wage and increasing social services for the poor and working class, among other things, made such a good showing in the race.

Seattle City Councilmember Richard J. McGiver led challengers Dwight Pelz and Robert Rosencrantz - three allies of the LGBT community. McGiver received 38 percent, while Pelz received the second highest number, 32 percent. Rosencrantz trailed behind with 29 percent.

"Three very good candidates," said Dubay. "I'll continue to support Dwight Pelz, another champion of our rights while serving in the state legislature and on the county council. I've always known he is our friend, but the testimony he gave on the county's Equal Benefits Ordinance in December 2003 should be enough to convince anyone in the LGBT community that this is a friend we want to keep in public office."

Seattle Popular Monorail Authority incumbents Cindi Laws and Cleve Stockmeyer fell behind their respective challengers. Both are highly rated by SEAMEC, while their opponents did not fair as well. While Laws received a SEAMEC rating of 5, undoubtedly for her efforts to include non-discrimination and domestic partner language in the agency's contracts, her challenger, Beth Goldberg, received a 3. Likewise, Stockmeyer received a SEAMEC rating of 4, while his challengers Dick Falkenbury and Jim Nobles received a 2.

Port of Seattle Commissioner Lawrence Molloy is the favorite among many within the region's LGBT community for his effort to require Port of Seattle contractors to offer benefits to domestic partners that are equal to those already provided to the spouses of married employees. Molloy also received SEAMEC's highest rating. However, Molloy came in second in his primary race for Position One. Molloy received 33 percent, while challenger John Creighton received 51 percent. Wen Wu Lee came in last with only 16 percent of the vote.

"Lawrence Molloy, the man who put his position on the line when he introduced an Equal Benefits Ordinance, which Pat Davis took the lead in defeating, should have 100 percent, solid, support from LGBT voters for Position One," said Dubay.

SEAMEC endorsed candidate Lloyd Hara led challengers in the five-way race for the Position Three seat on the Port of Seattle Commission. Hara received 26 percent; Richard "Rich" Berkowitz received 25 percent; Christopher Cain received 20 percent; Peter M. Coates received 18 percent; and John R. Kane received 11 percent.

"I get around a lot. Lloyd Hara gets my vote," said Dubay. "He is the only candidate in Position Three who has shown any concern, or even interest, in LGBT issues. He has answered questions in several forums and answered them directly and in our favor."

Port of Seattle Commissioner Patricia "Pat" Davis, became the bane of the region's LGBT community after she opposed a proposal to require Port of Seattle contractors to offer benefits to domestic partners that are equal to those already provided to the spouses of married employees. During her re-election bid, she changed her position. Challenger Jack Jolley, a 16 year Capitol Hill resident, has pledged to support Molloy's proposed contractor requirements and has emerged as a favorite among many LGBT voters. Richard Pope received the third highest tally with 15 percent of the vote, while Robert Walker came in last with 12 percent.

"Pat Davis, in Position Four, always a friend in word, but not in deed, when she needs our votes, but an opponent when she isn't on the ballot, should definitely be replaced by Jack Jolley," said Dubay. "The big money, business as usual, profit driven crowd is obviously afraid of loosing their punch. This corporate-driven PAC wants to keep its nest feathered by keeping Pat Davis in, Lawrence Molloy out, and Richard Berkowitz in the open seat. None of this bodes well for us."

SEAMEC ratings and candidate information is available at: www.seamec.org

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