Most LGBT Candidates Lose South Florida Democratic Primary Races

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Tuesday night delivered many losses for LGBT candidates running for local offices from Palm Beach through Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties. But a few pulled through, including one for Congress and another against a scandal-ridden state lawmaker.

Here’s a recap.


U.S. House District 18: Married lesbian Lauren Baer, who is part of the family that owns Baer’s Furniture, beat Navy veteran Pam Keith in a Treasure Coast Democratic Congressional Primary, and will face Republican incumbent Brian Mast, who won the seat in 2016 and beat two opponents in his primary contest Tuesday night. With 75 percent of precincts reporting, Maer amassed 60 percent of the vote. The Congressional district, Florida’s 18th, is a swing district spanning Fort Pierce to northern Palm Beach County. Before Mast, the seat was held by Democrat Patrick Murphy.

U.S. House District 27: Florida’s first openly gay state House lawmaker lost in the Democratic primary for this Miami-Dade Congressional seat. State Rep. David Richardson came in second to former Bill Clinton Secretary of Health and Humans Services Donna Shalala. She won 32 percent of the vote to Richardson’s 27 percent with 95 percent of precincts reporting. Three other opponents amassed smaller shares of the vote. Lesbian political group LPAC endorsed Shalala over openly gay Richardson, SFGN reported in July. Florida’s 27th Congressional district, which is currently held by retiring Republican U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, covers Miami Beach, southern Miami, and Kendall. Voters here chose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in 2016. Former TV reporter Maria Salazar won this district’s Republican contest with 41 percent of the vote against eight opponents.

Florida Senate District 38: With 97 percent of the vote counted in this Democratic primary contest, former prosecutor Jason Pizzo beat scandal-plagued incumbent Daphne Campbell, who lost the endorsement of a local LGBT group and also has called the police on reporters doing their jobs. Pizzo got 54 percent of the vote. He gained the endorsement of South Florida pro-LGBT group SAVE for opposing legislation that allows employers to discriminate against LGBT people. SAVE President Tony Lima called Campbell “awful” on LGBT issues. This State Senate district covers Miami Beach and North Miami. Campbell has twice called the cops on reporters this year, only for officers to find the journalists did nothing wrong. She called police when Rise Miami reporter Richard Robinson filmed her in public, and again on Aug. 9 after Miami Herald reporter Sarah Blaskey asked her questions in public.

Florida House District 92: Retired policewoman Paulette Armstead, a lesbian, lost to Hawkins-Williams in a four-way Democratic primary in 2016, and lost again Tuesday night. With 96 percent of votes tallied, Hawkins-Williams has 58 percent of the vote to Armstead’s 42 percent. This district covers Deerfield Beach to just northwest of Wilton Manors. SFGN reported last week Hawkins-Williams failed to return calls asking about her alleged anti-LGBT views. Broward County human rights activist Michael Rajner has accused the state lawmaker being anti-LGBT after she was endorsed by the Christian Family Coalition, which he called a hate group.

Florida House District 109: With 98 percent of precincts reporting, openly gay African-American candidate Cedric McMinn trails former state Rep. James Bush, also black, 47 to 53 percent. This district covers northern Miami and Opa-Locka and is 46 percent black, according to state records. If McMinn pulls through in this Democratic primary contest, he would be the first openly gay black candidate voters send to Tallahassee.

Broward County School Board At Large, Seat 8: Nineteen-year-old school board candidate Elijah Manley, who is openly queer, lost in a three-way race where his two opponents, Ryan Petty and Donna Korn, have been accused of making anti-LGBT statements. With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Korn had 50.3 percent of the vote to Petty’s 31 percent and Manley’s 18 percent. If Korn maintains a majority, she won’t have to face Petty in a runoff Nov. 6. Petty, who is Mormon, has tweeted statements like “I’m just glad I’m not a gay, black Mormon” and “You sure do attract a special class of Twitter libtard,” which was directed at another Twitter user, the Sun Sentinel reported. Korn, who is endorsed by the Dolphin Democrats and Equality Florida, was accused of comparing a child having gender identity issues with rape. In a letter published by SFGN, Korn said that she never intended to do that, calling it a reply to the moderator’s biased question.

Key West Mayor: With all precincts reporting, former Key West City Commissioner Teri Johnston, who is openly gay has 49 percent of the vote in the mayoral race. Since she did not get the majority of votes, she will face off on Nov. 6 against Commissioner Margaret Romero, who got 21 percent of the vote.

Broward County Court Judge, Group 25: Openly gay judge Robert W. Lee beat opponent Stephen Leslie Lustig with 69 percent of the vote with 70 percent of precincts reporting.