Nine of 12 openly LGBT candidates won their primary races Tuesday; but, lesbian Maryland State Delegate Heather Mizeur was not one them.
In a six-person race for the Democratic nomination for Maryland governor, Mizeur won 22 percent of the vote, two points behind the state attorney general Doug Gansler, with 24 percent, but well behind Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown with 51 percent, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections.
The statewide LGBT group Equality Maryland endorsed Brown early on, but Brown had several advantages other advantages over his competitors: He is well-positioned to become the state’s first African American governor in a state with a 30 percent African American population, and, as lieutenant governor to a popular Democratic governor, he is better known and better funded.
Mizeur, who eschewed the intraparty attacks that Brown and Gansler engaged in, emphasized the “positive” throughout her campaign and maintained that strategy in commenting on her third place finish.
“There were a lot of skeptics who said I would never make it this far,” she told supporters in an email Tuesday night. But, she said, “This campaign will go down in history as one of the greatest grassroots campaigns ever run in Maryland.”
MSNBC’s Chuck Todd on the Daily Rundown Tuesday morning noted that some political observers felt Mizeur “outshined her male opponents” during the campaign. One Baltimore Sun commentator said, prior to the voting, that Mizeur had proved it was “possible to win a campaign but lose an election” and that she proved herself to be “an assertive, confident and unapologetically liberal candidate with a bright future in state and maybe even national politics.”
She performed well in a televised debate with the top two candidates, staying above their jousting and bringing the focus back onto issues such minimum wage and the virtues of legalizing marijuana.
The majority of openly LGBT candidates breezed into their nominations, but U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney did hit one hard bump. Maloney was running unopposed for the Democratic nomination, but New York State’s primary system allows candidates of one party to run as a candidate on the ballots of other parties. Both Maloney and his Republican challenger put their names on the ballot of the Independence Party primary Tuesday and his opponent won. Republican Nan Hayworth, who lost her seat representing New York’s Congressional District 18 in 2012, now heads into November in a stronger position. According to the Times-Herald-Record, winning the Independence Primary helps the victor “lay claim to being the more moderate or pragmatic candidate” and gives the candidate “an additional voting column that could prove critical in a close race.”
In another New York Congressional race, openly gay newcomer Sean Eldridge, spouse of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, was unopposed for the Democratic nomination to represent District 19. A Politico.com article in April painted Eldridge as a wealthy opportunist and contrasted Eldridge’s resources to those of incumbent Republican Chris Gibson, “a 49-year-old decorated war veteran and former college professor who lives in the same middle-class neighborhood where he grew up.” Politico quoted Gibson as saying Eldridge “married well…. But there are some things money can’t buy.” The article did not delve into the source of Gibson’s 2012 campaign funding: largely Republican committees and finance, insurance, and investment interests. And the National Republican Congressional Committee announced last week that it will pump more than $1 million into keeping Gibson’s seat in November.
In other elections in Maryland: Openly gay incumbent State Senator Richard Madaleno easily fended off a challenge from LGBT activist Dana Beyer in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for Maryland’s 18th State Senate District. Madaleno took 58 percent of the vote to Beyer’s 42. Because there was no Republican running, Madaleno secures his seat for another term.
First-term incumbent Maryland Democratic Delegate Luke Clippinger was the third of three winners in his Democratic primary to represents House District 46. First-term incumbent Democrat Bonnie Cullison was the second top vote getter out of three winners in her Democratic primary for District 19.Incumbent Democratic Delegate Maggie McIntosh was the top vote-getter of three winners in the primary for District 43.
Openly gay Montgomery County Councilman Evan Glass’ bid for re-election fell short just one percentage point behind another candidate seeking the Democratic nomination. Byron Macfarlane was unopposed in the Democratic primary for register of wills for Howard County, Maryland.
In Oklahoma, there were two successes. Openly lesbian State Rep. Kay Floyd won the Democratic nomination to run for a state senate seat representing Senate District 46 (Oklahoma City). Floyd took 80 percent of the vote, according to the Oklahoma State Election Board. An openly transgender candidate, Paula Sophia, ran for the Democratic nomination to succeed in the State House. She garnered enough votes in a four-person field to force a runoff in August with the top vote getter. Since there is no Republican candidate, the August contest will decide who takes the seat. Sophia took 24 percent of the votes cast for the Democratic nomination for District 88, preventing the primary leader, Jason Dunnington (41 percent), from achieving the 50 percent majority required to win.
In a non-LGBT race of special interest to the LGBT community, U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna easily won the Republican nomination for another term, even though he was one of just a few Republican members of Congress recently to express support for marriage equality. New York State Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, a candidate supported by the National Organization for Marriage, challenged Hanna. She does not support same-sex couples marrying. Hanna received backing from the pro-gay American Unity PAC.
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