Tuesday’s election saw a number of LGBT firsts — including the first out mayor in Pennsylvania.
Ron Strouse of Doylestown defeated Republican opponent Bruce Rutherford to become the Keystone State’s first openly LGBT mayor.
Strouse, 65, is a native of the Doylestown area and has lived in the borough for more than a decade. He is a chef and manages two local restaurants and also chairs the Doylestown Human Relations Commission.
“Electing LGBT candidates is incredibly important,” said Equality Pennsylvania president Adrian Shanker. “It means we have a seat at the table and that when local issues related to LGBT equality come up, we know we have an advocate. Ron Strouse will be an excellent mayor for Doylestown and it was an important win for the LGBT community for Doylestown to elect their first openly gay mayor.”
In New Jersey, Republican Don Guardian unseated longtime incumbent Lorenzo Langford to take the helm of Atlantic City. Guardian is the city’s first openly LGBT mayor.
Other LGBT mayoral candidates weren’t successful, with losses for New Hope’s Donna Deely, Lansdale’s Doug DiPasquale and Hatboro’s Bill Godshall.
Out Harrisburg City Controller Dan Miller ran on the Republican ticket after losing to Democratic challenger Eric Papenfuse in the primary, but Papenfuse defeated Miller this week.
In Loyalsock Township in Lycoming County, Supervisor candidate Jenn Black lost to Republican Paul Nyman.
Shanker said it was important to support candidates like Black who are from areas where LGBT issues are not as visible.
“We supported her because she was running a good race and it is important that LGBT candidates are supported outside of traditional areas where we know we can win,” he said.
As expected, Democrats swept the municipal races in Philadelphia. Alan Butkovitz and Seth Williams were re-elected as City Controller and District Attorney. Seven Democrats were elected to the Court of Common Pleas: Anne Marie Coyle, Timika Lane, Joe Fernandes, Daniel McCaffery, Sierra Thomas Street, J. Scott O’Keefe and Giovanni Campbell.
Shanker said Campbell’s victory was a positive for the LGBT community.
“It is good news for the LGBT community,” he said. “We need to search for more fair-minded individuals because we see LGBT issues going to the courts more and more.”
At the state level, Democratic candidate for Superior Court Jack McVay fell to Republican Vic Stabile, who won with 51 percent of the vote.
Across the river, New Jersey re-elected Republican Gov. Chris Christie, with Democratic challenger Barbara Buono trailing far behind.
In her concession speech, Buono blamed a lack support from Democratic leaders for her loss.
“The Democratic political bosses, some elected, and some not, made a deal with this governor, despite him representing everything they are supposed to be against,” she said.
Shanker said the mixed bag of wins and losses were a lesson that the LGBT community is an important voting bloc.
“ understand that the LGBT community votes, that we as a community help them get there and push them on issues they need to work on.”