March 13, 2014 at 10:17 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Sickles drops out of Va. congressional race
Mark Sickles, gay news, Washington Blade

Virginia Del. Mark Sickles dropped out of the congressional race after an internal poll’s discouraging results. (Photo by Cliff; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Virginia Del. Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax), who disclosed in a Washington Post column last month that he’s gay, announced on Wednesday that he is withdrawing as a candidate for the 8th District congressional seat being vacated by retiring Rep. James Moran (D).

In a statement sent to supporters, Sickles said his decision to drop out of the race was prompted by an internal campaign survey.

“Last night, I looked at the results of our survey of likely Democratic primary voters with respect to the candidates who have expressed interest in the nomination. I wish that I could report that there was a clear and viable path to victory for me,” his statement says.

“While I was heartened by the strong support from those who know me best, I cannot in good conscience continue to ask for support from you, my friends, and political allies knowing the lay of the land,” he said in the statement.

Among the 10 remaining candidates competing for the Northern Virginia congressional seat in a June 10 Democratic primary are gay State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) and gay rights attorney and radio talk show host Mark Levine of Alexandria.

Ebbin has received the endorsement of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, a national group that raises money for out LGBT political candidates.

“While I know this was a hard decision for him, I also know that the people of Mark Sickles’ district and Virginia will continue to benefit from his leadership and service in Richmond,” Ebbin said in a statement to the Blade.

Others running in the Democratic primary are former Lt. Gov. Donald Beyer Jr., and State Dels. Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria), Patrick Hope (D-Arlington) and Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington).

The winner of the primary is expected to win the general election in November in the strongly Democratic district.

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

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