August 11, 2011 | by Phil Reese
Tight Senate race for gay Virginia candidate
Adam Ebbin

Adam Ebbin, who is leaving his spot as the only openly gay state delegate in Virginia, faces two strong opponents in his race for Senate. (Photo courtesy Adam Ebbin)

Virginia’s only openly gay delegate is fighting hard to become Virginia’s first openly gay state senator, in what’s shaping up to be a very expensive primary race among three Northern Virginia politicos in the 30th District.

Del. Adam Ebbin has represented the 49th District in the Virginia House of Delegates since 2004, and has been a progressive voice in state politics during his time in office. He’s looking to turn his eight-year record into a primary win this Aug. 23.

“I’m the only Democratic candidate with the record of standing up to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and his dangerous plans,” Ebbin said. “He’s advocated discrimination against gays, denied climate change [science], and has other radical ideas. I’ve written legislation to prevent him from continuing his civil actions without approval of the General Assembly or the governor.”

In June, when the Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond flew the rainbow flag for LGBT Pride month, Ebbin went head-to-head in the media with Republican Del. Bob Marshall, who took to the press denouncing the move, and wrote an open letter to the bank’s president calling the move “inappropriate.”

Ebbin was vocal in his response to Marshall, telling the New York Times, that life was improving for LGBT people in Virginia in spite of people like Marshall, who was sponsor of the bill to ban marriage equality in the Commonwealth, and last year made the claim that ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” would lead to the spread of “venereal diseases” in the armed forces.

“[Adam Ebbin] persuaded two governors to issue executive orders protecting LGBT Virginians from discrimination in state employment,” a campaign release reads. “He led the effort to expand life insurance benefits to domestic partners.”

Ebbin’s modest campaign headquarters on Powhatan Street in North Old Town Alexandria has drawn, what Ebbin called, a “multitude of volunteers.”

“We have a number of students and a number of interns, a good number of democratic activists, seniors, democratic committee members, and GLBT people,” he said.

Ebbin’s supporters will be gathering on Monday night at Freddy’s Beach Bar in Arlington to raise money, show their support and raise awareness of the campaign to make Ebbin Virginia’s first openly gay state senator. Several sponsorship levels are available through the campaign, and tickets to attend the event are $50 in advance.

Ebbin has also received numerous endorsements recently including from Equality Virginia, Virginia Partisans Gay and Lesbian Democratic Club, the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and the Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Associations. The three candidates in the race have raised more than $500,000 in donations collectively, according to Mary Ann Barton, writing for Patch.com.

Ebbin, Libby Garvey and Rob Krupicka are vying for the seat being vacated by 16-year incumbent Patsy Ticer.

“It’s an open seat, because of her retirement,” Ebbin said. “It’s a very Democratic seat, strongly Democratic. The winner of the primary is expected to be the next senator”

Despite the stiff competition, Ebbin believes his organization is strong and will prevail.

“We’re getting a great reaction door-to-door,” Ebbin said. “We’re happy to be receiving more endorsements.”

Ebbin is pulling strong fundraising numbers as well. While Krupicka, an Alexandria City Council member, is in front, having raised more than $201,000, Ebbin’s campaign is close behind with more than $186,000.

The other candidate is Libby Garvey, a member of the Arlington School Board. Although trailing in third place in fundraising, Garvey received an important leg-up in the form of $20,000 in donations from Ticer.

Ebbin said he can be more effective in the Senate than in the lower chamber.

“I think that I can do a great job, and be even more effective,” he explained about making the jump to the Senate. “There’s an opportunity to be in an even smaller body — hopefully in the majority — and I think I’ll get more legislation passed, more done.”

Ebbin’s top legislative priorities in the Senate will make his progressive constituents very happy, saying, “renewable energy, transit, and non-discrimination in state hiring would be among the first.”

For information about the Ebbin for Virginia event at Freddy’s, contact meredith@ebbinforvirginia.com.

 

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