Two gay candidates for the Delaware legislature on Tuesday won their respective primaries.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Rehoboth Beach realtor Andy Staton easily won the Democratic primary for the 6th Senate District with 58.1 percent of the vote. Former Dewey Beach Mayor Bob Frederick came in second with 22.6 percent, while former congressional candidate Mike Miller finished third with 19.3 percent of the vote.
Staton, who announced last month that his campaign had raised more than $100,000, will face Republican Ernie Lopez in the general election. He could join Marie Mayor, who won the Democratic primary in the 20th House District, as the first openly LGBT candidates elected to the state legislature if he wins in November.
“We’re excited; we’re humbled,” Staton told the Blade. “It’s been an amazing opportunity to identify issues. We’re looking forward to delivering results for the residents of the 6th District.”
Chuck Wolfe, president of the Victory Fund, which endorsed both Staton and Mayor, celebrated their primary victories.
“We’re thrilled for Marie and Andy tonight, and we look forward to standing with them over the next seven weeks,” he said. “Delaware could finally get its first openly gay state lawmakers, and that’s an important step toward achieving full equality.”
Mitch Crane, former president of the Barbara Gittings Delaware Stonewall Democrats, narrowly lost in his bid to unseat incumbent Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart who received 32.6 percent of the vote. Crane came in second with 29.8 percent, while Paul Gallagher finished third with 19.8 percent of the vote. Dennis Spivack finished fourth with 17 percent.
Crane told the Blade that he called Stewart, for whom he had worked at the Delaware Department of Insurance until Jan. 2011, and congratulated her. He also applauded Staton and Mayor on their primary victories.
“I’m happy for my friends Andy and Marie,” said Crane. “I hope to help them in November. They’re going to need it.”