LGBT and allied candidates triumph in WA and elsewhere
by Mike Andrew -
SGN Staff Writer
November 6 turned out to be a good night for LGBT and LGBT-friendly candidates, both in Washington state and throughout much of the country.
President Obama, who endorsed Washington's Referendum 74, was re-elected, as was Sen. Maria Cantwell, a consistent supporter of pro-LGBT legislation. LGBT-friendly congressmen Rick Larson (D-2), Jim McDermott (D-7), and Adam Smith (D-9) also won new terms.
Democrat Denny Heck was elected to represent the state's new 10th Congressional District, and Democrat Derek Kilmer succeeded retiring Congressman Norm Dicks in the sixth.
In perhaps the most stunning news of the night, Democrat Suzan DelBene trounced anti-Gay, anti-choice Republican John Koster in the First Congressional District, which was widely considered the state's most competitive. In fact, DelBene beat him twice - once to represent the older, more Democratic First District until January, and again for a full two-year term in the newly redrawn district.
DelBene had lagged behind Koster in late polling, but ended up beating him by 20 points in the old First District and by seven points in the new district, for her first full term in the House.
Like a number of other Republican candidates, Koster's mouth got him into trouble when a video of him making off-hand remarks about 'the rape thing' went viral. Koster's campaign manager was none other than Larry Stickney, who ran the 2009 campaign to repeal the state's domestic partnership law.
In another happy result, defense attorney Sheryl Gordon McCloud won a state Supreme Court seat, defeating a comeback attempt by ex-Justice Richard Sanders.
In his 15 years on the court (1995-2010), Sanders voted against marriage equality in the 2006 Andersen case, against inheritance rights for domestic partners, against domestic partner benefits for municipal employees, and against custody rights for non-birth parents.
In the race for governor, Democrat Jay Inslee, who endorsed marriage equality, remains about two points ahead of Republican Rob McKenna, who did not. Likewise, longtime LGBT ally Bob Ferguson leads his Republican opponent, Reagan Dunn, by five points in the race for attorney general.
Openly LGBT state legislators Marko Liias (D-21), Laurie Jinkins (D-27), Dave Upthegrove (D-33), and Jim Moeller (D-49) easily beat their Republican challengers.
Jamie Pedersen (D-43) was unopposed in the general election because his primary challenger, Trotskyist Kshama Sawant, withdrew from the race for his seat to run instead against House Speaker Frank Chopp (D-43). Sawant polled barely 8% of the vote against Pedersen in the primary, but she managed to get more than 27% against Chopp.
State Sen. Ed Murray (D-43) was not up for election this year.
Maureen Walsh (R-16), star of an Approve R-74 TV spot, won re-election against a fellow Republican who challenged her because she voted for the Marriage Equality Act. Walsh picked up almost 57% of the vote.
In other states, LGBT candidates also scored victories. In Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin became the first Lesbian elected to the U.S. Senate, and was succeeded in her House seat by a Gay Democrat, Mark Pocan. In Rhode Island, openly Gay U.S. Rep. David Cicilline was re-elected, and in New York, Sean Patrick Maloney became that state's first openly Gay person elected to Congress. While votes are still being counted in California's 41st Congressional District, openly Gay Democrat Mark Takano has declared victory. He will be the first openly Gay person of color to serve in Congress.
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