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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 17, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 38
Primary election results: Democrats opt for Gay, Republicans opt for crazy
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Primary election results: Democrats opt for Gay, Republicans opt for crazy

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

After the September 14 primaries, Democrats are one step closer to sending a fourth openly Gay member to Congress, and - thanks to Delaware Republicans, who chose a spectacularly out-of-the-mainstream candidate - they are also closer to keeping control of the U.S. Senate.

Gay Providence Mayor David Cicilline won his primary election and will become the Democratic candidate in Rhode Island's 1st Congressional District.

He won 37% of the vote against four opponents.

The seat was previously held by Democrat Patrick Kennedy, who announced earlier this year that he would not seek reelection.

Cicilline served four terms in the Rhode Island state legislature before being elected mayor in 2002 with 84% of the vote. He was reelected in 2006 with 83%.

The seat is considered a safe Democratic seat so Cicilline will almost certainly win the general election in November. When he does so, he will join Gay Congressmen Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Lesbian Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).

Gay Democrat Steve Pougnet is also challenging Republican incumbent Mary Bono Mack in a California Congressional district. She is considered likely to win reelection.

Cicilline was supported by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.

"I'm very grateful that the Victory Fund and their supporters believe in this campaign, and I thank you for your hard work on our behalf," he said after the primary results came in.

"Together we really can change politics in Rhode Island and across the country, and make sure that all Americans have a voice in their government. I hope you'll continue to stand with us as we work hard for a big victory this November."

Delaware chooses embezzler
The surprise of the night came in the Delaware Senate race.

In a stunning upset, Tea Party-endorsed senate candidate Christine O'Donnell defeated 10-term Congressman and former governor Mike Castle for the Republican nomination.

O'Donnell trounced Castle 53-47% and will face Democrat Chris Coons in November. Coons is currently executive of New Castle County, the state's most populous county.

O'Donnell is unlike her Republican primary opponent in every way.

While Castle was an old-school moderate Republican, O'Donnell is a devotee of Tea Party politics. In her victory speech, she made it a point to thank Glen Beck's 9/12 Patriots organization, the Tea Party Express, and Sarah Palin.

The Tea Party Express is in many ways the most extreme of the organizations grouping themselves under the "Tea Party" brand. It was expelled from the National Tea Party Federation after its president, Mark Williams, posted inflammatory - and some said racist - material on his blog.

Also unlike Castle, who had a long and successful political career, O'Donnell has bounced around from losing campaign to losing campaign.

She has run for the U.S. Senate three times in five years, finishing a distant third in the Republican primary fight in 2006 before running uncontested for the right to lose to then-Sen. Joe Biden in 2008.

Under federal law, Biden was able to run for - and ultimately win - both the Delaware senate seat he held since 1973, and the vice presidency of the U.S. He resigned his senate seat to take the vice presidency.

Described in Salon magazine as a "serial debtor" who still owes debts and back wages from her 2008 senate run, O'Donnell has been accused by her former campaign manager of embezzling campaign funds to pay her rent and personal expenses.

In 2005, O'Donnell reportedly filed a lawsuit against a conservative nonprofit organization called the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, asking for $6.9 million in damages for alleged gender discrimination and wrongful termination.

As part of that suit, O'Donnell alleged she had been prevented by the organization from getting her master's degree from Princeton University. It was later revealed by the conservative news magazine Weekly Standard that she had never enrolled at Princeton.

Prior to entering politics, O'Donnell ran an anti-masturbation organization called SALT (Saviors Alliance for Lifting the Truth).

Pre-primary polling showed Castle beating Coons by 10 points, but Coons beating O'Donnell by 10. Castle announced on September 15 that he would not endorse O'Donnell, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee said it would not put its resources into the Delaware race.

New York chooses porn prince
In another stunning upset, former four-term Congressman Rick Lazio was defeated by a political unknown - Tea Party-endorsed Carl Paladino - in the Republican primary for governor of New York.

Paladino crushed Lazio 67-33%.

Lazio had the endorsement of the official New York Republican Party, while Paladino drew his support from Tea Party insurgents.

"Insurgent" is hardly the right description for Paladino himself, however. As CEO of Ellicott Development Company, his campaign was almost entirely self-financed.

What's interesting about Paladino is not his politics, which are pretty typical of the Republican right - he is anti-healthcare reform, anti-tax, anti-choice, and pro-gun (he carries "wherever legal," he says) - but rather his "sense of humor."

Paladino apparently amuses himself by e-mailing racist images and hardcore porn to friends and acquaintances.

His favorite images focus on President Obama. One e-mail Paladino circulated featured President Obama and Michelle dressed as pimp and hooker, with the caption "Obama Inaugural Ball." Another showed an African tribesman dancing, with the caption "Obama Inaugural Ball Rehearsal."

Paladino's tastes in porn reportedly run to images of bestiality, suitably captioned "Whoa. Steady Big Fella."

The Democratic nominee is the very popular state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, son of the equally popular former governor Mario Cuomo. Cuomo was considered very likely to beat either Lazio or Paladino in November.

Down ballot races
In other primary election results, Gay and Lesbian candidates advanced to the November election.

Maryland's House of Delegates is likely to get three new Gay and Lesbian members, bringing the total number of out Maryland state lawmakers to seven.

Among the winners in Maryland is Mary Washington, who would become the second openly Lesbian African-American to be elected to a state legislature anywhere in the country.

Her Baltimore district will likely have two Lesbian representatives in the House of Delegates. Incumbent Maggie McIntosh also won her primary.

Harry Bronson could become the sixth openly LGBT member of the New York state legislature. Bronson won the Democratic primary in his Rochester-area district. He would be the only out Assembly member from upstate New York if he wins the general election this fall.

Washington state's primary took place in August, with a number of LGBT candidates moving on to the general election.

Washington's legislature will get its first Lesbian House member if Laurie Jinkins wins a seat in Pierce County's 27th District, and Washington state will get its first openly Gay County Council member if Joe McDermott wins a seat from the 8th Council District on the King County Council.

If elected, Jinkins will join four openly Gay state House members, all Democrats - Marko Liias, Jim Moeller, Jamie Pedersen, and Dave Upthegrove.

Sen. Ed Murray (D-43) is unopposed.

Openly Lesbian attorney Donna Tucker is running for district court judge in the Northeast district, Position 7.

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