April 22, 2012 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Stein Club endorses McDuffie in Ward 5 Council race

The Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, the city’s largest LGBT political group, Thursday night endorsed Democrat Kenyan McDuffie for the May 15 special election to fill a vacant Ward 5 seat on the D.C. City Council.

McDuffie received 74 percent of the vote by club members in a second-ballot runoff against second place candidate Drew Hubbard, who received 23.8 percent of the vote.

McDuffie received 54.7 percent on the first ballot, in which seven of the twelve candidates set to appear on the ballot competed for the club’s endorsement. All seven attended and spoke at a Stein Club forum, where the endorsement vote took place, at the Human Rights Campaign headquarters at 17th Street and Rhode Island Avenue, N.W.

Under Stein Club rules, candidates must obtain at least 60 percent of the vote from the membership to win an endorsement.

The other candidates appearing before the forum, each of whom expressed support for LGBT equality, received 5 percent of the vote or less in the first-round voting.

“I’m very pleased over receiving the Gertrude Stein endorsement,” McDuffie told the Blade after the vote. “I think it pretty much formalizes what’s always been the case – that I’ve been a staunch supporter of LGBT concerns, marriage equality and everything that matters to folks in this community.”

McDuffie said he hopes to tap what he calls a “sizable” number of LGBT residents in Ward 5, especially in the Bloomingdale and Brookland neighborhoods.

The other candidates who spoke at the endorsement forum, in addition to McDuffie and Hubbard, were Democrats Shelly Gardner, Kathy Henderson, Ron Magnus, Ruth Marshall, and Frank Wilds.

Republican candidate Tim Day, who is gay, has been endorsed in the Ward 5 special election by the D.C. Log Cabin Republicans. The Stein Club’s bylaws prevent it from endorsing non-Democrats.

Under city election rules, candidates of all parties as well as independents are eligible to run in special elections.

Stein Club president Lateefah Williams said she was pleased that McDuffie won the club’s endorsement.

“He’s an excellent candidate and has a chance of winning,” Williams said, in a multi-candidate race where the vote is likely to be split between several candidates.

David Mariner, executive director of the D.C. LGBT Community Center, served as moderator of at the forum, presenting written questions submitted from members of the audience.

One of the questions asked where the candidates stand on a controversial proposal by the city to open on ore more marijuana cultivation centers in warehouse districts in Ward 5 to facilitate a recently implemented D.C. medical marijuana law. Each of the candidates said they support the law’s intent of providing doctor prescribed marijuana for medical purposes but oppose Ward 5 becoming a “dumping ground” for such facilities.

Each of the candidates also said they would work to vigorously enforce the city’s non-discrimination laws for gay, lesbian and transgender residents of the city and would take steps to provide job training for a segment of the transgender residents, especially transgender women, who are believed to have a high rate of unemployment.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

5 Comments
  • “…endorsed Democrat Kenyan McDuffie for the May 15 special election to fill a vacant Ward 5 seat on the D.C. City Council.”

    And after we already have a Kenyan in the White House!

    {rimSHOT!}

    ;-p

  • Many of us will be very happy to see Kenyan McDuffie representing Ward 5 and LGBT interests on the Council. But the arc of McDuffie’s career could very well put him in the White House one day, too.

  • “I think it pretty much formalizes what’s always been the case – that I’ve been a staunch supporter of LGBT concerns, marriage equality and everything that matters to folks in this community.” McDuffie said he hopes to tap what he calls a “sizable” number of LGBT residents in Ward 5, especially in the Bloomingdale and Brookland neighborhoods.
    _________________________________________________________________________________

    Makes me wonder what Kenyan’s real intent is. Definitely a political move, but still does not prove that he is the “staunch supporter” he claims to be. Kenyan McDuffie on the other hand continues to pull on his work with Mayor as a crutch to get him elected. He has only been living in Ward 5 for a few years, yet claims he knows the Ward. He has already stated that his focus is in Bloomingdale and Brookland–not a good look for someone who is hoping to win a race in such diverse Ward.

    At least, Delano Hunter chose not to waste anyone’s time and kept the situation 125%. I’m glad to see that Hunter has chosen the high road and go against the political motive behind this endorsement. It is important for Hunter to be in the position to build and work with all communities and him bowing out of this endorsement process has proven just that. Hunter seems to be ready and willing to put any personal & political agendas to the side in order to focus on the shared needs of the Ward 5 community.

    Sorry, Kenyan. Winning Bloomingdale and Brookland over just isn’t enough.

  • More nameless, campaign dirty tricks from Delano Hunter’s camp?

    We should not be surprised that the one candidate who used NOM money to repeatedly demonize Ward 5 and DC LGBT residents …
    [URL REMOVED]
    …(less than two years ago, BTW) is now employing unsigned posts on the Washington Blade with bald-faced lies about Hunter’s leading opponent– and long-time LGBT rights champion, Kenyan McDuffie.

    Ward 5 LGBT residents and their straight neighbors will not be fooled by more of Delano Hunter’s divisive, desperation tactics.

    Just to set McDuffie’s record straight (f/ kenyanmcduffie[dot]com)…

    “I am thrilled to receive the endorsement from the Gertrude Stein Club,” states McDuffie. “I am committed to addressing the serious issues impacting the LGBT community such as hate crimes, bullying, assaults on transgender individuals, and discrimination head on. My priorities include representing and championing the needs of all Ward 5 residents, regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation.” We look forward to spending time with the Gertrude Stein Club on the campaign trail in the coming weeks.

    To date, Kenyan McDuffie has also garnered the most union endorsements of any candidate in the race, positioning him as the front-runner. Kenyan’s growing list of endorsements include:

    American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organization (AFL-CIO) Metropolitan Washington Council
    Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Maryland and DC State Council
    National Nurses United (NNU)
    District of Columbia Nurses Association (DCNA)
    UNITE HERE! Local 25
    LIUNA Local 657

    In addition to the union endorsements, Kenyan McDuffie has also received the endorsements of Greater Greater Washington and DC for Democracy.

    Kenyan is a member of the Human Rights Campaign as well as a former civil rights trial attorney with the United States Department of Justice. During law school, he served as an editor on the University of Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender and Class as well as a law clerk in the Civil Rights Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

    Kenyan McDuffie is a third generation Washingtonian and a resident of the Stronghold/Edgewood neighborhood. He has served in numerous leadership positions in local community development, educational non-profits, and his local civic association.

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