It’s widely known that D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large), a longtime supporter of the LGBT community, is being challenged by gay former city parks and recreation director Clark Ray for the at-large seat in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary.
But in a little-known development, Mendelson could face yet another gay challenger in the November general election. Darryl Moch, an ordained minister and assistant pastor at D.C.’s gay-oriented Inner Light Ministries, is one of two candidates running for the at-large seat in the Statehood Green Party primary on Sept. 14.
If Mendelson wins the Democratic primary and Moch defeats rival David Schwartzman in the Statehood Green primary, the two will go against each other in the general election. No Republican candidate is running for the seat.
Moch told the Blade earlier this month that he’s running as an openly gay candidate with a focus on his party’s longtime mission: to secure congressional voting rights and eventual statehood for the District of Columbia. He said he would be an aggressive supporter of LGBT issues on the Council and is a strong backer of the city’s same-sex marriage equality law.
“Overcoming the divisions that exist among religious, social and cultural groups is paramount,” Moch says on his campaign website, darryl4dc.com. “I believe that bridging those divides will improve the quality of life for everyone and ultimately, the disadvantaged residents within a community.”
Moch also serves as executive director of the D.C.-based non-profit group Labor Heritage Foundation.
In addition to Ray and Moch, three other out gay candidates are running in the Sept. 14 primary. D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) is considered the favorite to win in the primary and in the November general election. Gay Republican Marc Morgan, who is running unopposed in the GOP primary in September, is expected to have an uphill fight against Graham in the November general election.
Gay Republican Timothy Day is also running unopposed in the GOP primary in Ward 5. He is expected to be the general election rival of incumbent Ward 5 Council member Harry Thomas, who is considered the favorite in the Democratic primary.
Meanwhile, gay D.C. Council member David Catania (I-At-Large), who isn’t running in the primary, is considered the favorite to win re-election to his at-large seat in November.