October 30, 2012 | by Michael K. Lavers
Gay Del. candidates poised to make history
Andy Staton, Delaware, gay news, gay politics dc

Andy Staton hopes to represent the 6th Senate District in Dover (Photo courtesy of prugallo.com)

A Rehoboth Beach realtor seeking to become the first openly gay man elected to the Delaware legislature remains hopeful he will make history on Election Day.

“People are responding overwhelmingly,” Andy Staton told the Washington Blade, referring to his campaign’s television advertisements that detail what he described as an action plan to preserve southern Delaware’s quality of life.

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Staton told the Blade 100 volunteers have signed up to work with his campaign over the last several weeks. Forty people also attended a recent brunch with Staton. “It’s been absolutely amazing.”

Staton on Nov. 6 will square off against Republican Ernie Lopez to represent the new 6th Senate District that includes Dewey Beach, Rehoboth Beach, Lewes and Milton. The Rehoboth Beach realtor easily defeated former Dewey Beach Mayor Bob Frederick and former congressional candidate Mike Miller in last month’s Democratic primary.

Governor Jack Markell, state Attorney General Beau Biden, U.S. Sens. Chris Coons and Tom Carper and House Majority Leader Pete Schwartzkopf (D-Rehoboth Beach) are among the Delaware officials who have endorsed Staton. The Barbara Gittings Delaware Stonewall Democrats and the Victory Fund have also backed his campaign.

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Staton spoke to the Blade hours before Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the southern New Jersey coast.

The storm that devastated New York City and coastal communities from New Jersey to Rhode Island prompted Staton to suspend his campaign from Oct. 28-30.

“We’re just concerned about public safety,” he told the Blade as the storm battered the Delaware coastline. “We’re very focused on making sure people are safe. Having said that, we feel are demonstrating strong support across the district.”

If elected, Staton could potentially join lesbian state House candidate Marie Mayor in Dover if she defeats Republican Stephen Smyk on Nov. 6. Mitch Crane, former president of the Barbara Gittings Delaware Stonewall Democrats, last month narrowly lost his primary bid to unseat incumbent Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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