D.C. Council Chair
Incumbent Council Chair Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large), a longtime supporter of LGBT rights, is being challenged in the primary by former federal government auditor and civic activist Calvin Gurley. Most political observers consider Mendelson the strong favorite to win re-election.
Mendelson received a +10 rating from GLAA and received the Stein Club endorsement. Gurley received a +1 GLAA rating. GLAA said Gurley expressed support for the city’s same-sex marriage law when it came up for a vote in 2009, but said he expressed disagreement with a number of LGBT-related proposals in his responses on the GLAA candidate questionnaire.
Mendelson has been credited with acting as the lead advocate for the same-sex marriage law during his tenure in 2009 as chair of the Council’s Judiciary Committee, which had jurisdiction over the measure.
At-Large Council Seat
Incumbent Council member Anita Bonds (D-At-Large), another longtime supporter of the LGBT community, is being challenged by three opponents who have also expressed strong support for LGBT equality.
The challengers are attorney and adjunct law professor Nate Bennett-Fleming, who currently serves as one of two shadow U.S. Representatives; businessman and civic activist John Settles; and federal government contract specialist and Latino community activist Pedro Rubio.
Bennett-Fleming, who won the Stein Club endorsement in the past when running for his shadow House seat, received the highest vote count in the club’s Council endorsement meeting last month but fell short of obtaining the 60 percent threshold needed for the endorsement. He received a +7 GLAA rating compared to a +6 rating GLAA gave to Bonds.
Rubio received a +3 GLAA rating and Settles received a +2.5.
Each of the candidates, including Rubio and Settles, has expressed strong support for LGBT-related issues.
Gay civic activist and Ward 1 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Marc Morgan is running unopposed for the at-large seat in the Republican primary also scheduled for April 1.
Ward 1 Council Seat
Sixteen-year incumbent Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who is one of two openly gay members of the Council, is being opposed by public relations executive Brianne Nadeau.
GLAA gave Graham a rating of +7.5 compared to the +5 rating it gave to Nadeau. The Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, the city’s largest LGBT partisan political group, didn’t make an endorsement in the Ward 1 race because neither candidate obtained a required 60 percent of the vote from club members needed to endorse.
However, Nadeau beat Graham by a vote of 70 to 64 in the endorsement race, a development that Nadeau’s LGBT supporters said was a sign that she has widespread support in the LGBT community. Graham is being backed by many of the city’s prominent LGBT activists and received endorsements from most of the city’s labor unions.
Ward 3 Council Seat
Incumbent Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), a longtime supporter of LGBT rights, is running unopposed in the primary. She won the endorsement of the Stein Club and received a rating of 8.5 from GLAA.
She’s considered the strong favorite to win the general election in November against Libertarian Party candidate Ryan Sabot, who’s running unopposed in the Libertarian primary on April 1.
Ward 5 Council Seat
Incumbent Council member Kenyan McDuffie, who has expressed strong support for LGBT rights, is being challenged by Ward 5 civic activists Kathy Henderson, an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner; and Carolyn Steptoe. McDuffie, who was endorsed by the Stein Club, is considered the strong favorite to win re-election.
McDuffie received a +4.5 rating from GLAA. Henderson received a “0” GLAA rating and Steptoe received a -2, the lowest rating GLAA has issued for any of the candidates running in the April 1 primary.
Henderson has told the Blade she considers herself a strong supporter of LGBT equality. GLAA said it gave her a 0 rating because she expressed opposition to a number of issues on the questionnaire deemed important by the group.
Ward 6 Council Seat
The Ward 6 seat is being vacated by incumbent Tommy Wells, who’s running for mayor. Wells’ former chief of staff, Charles Allen, is running for the seat in the Democratic primary against Darrel Thompson, a former deputy chief of staff for U.S. Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
Both have expressed strong support for LGBT rights and say they addressed LGBT issues as part of the duties of their previous jobs. GLAA gave Allen a +8.5 rating, the highest rating it awarded this year for a non-incumbent.
Thompson received a +3 rating. GLAA said he submitted a “weak questionnaire” but was given credit for the LGBT-related issues he worked on when serving on the staff of Reid as well as on the staff of former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) and then U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
The Stein Club didn’t endorse in the Ward 6 race because neither candidate received the 60 percent threshold needed for an endorsement.
Shadow Senate Seat
Incumbent Paul Strauss, an attorney, who has held the shadow seat for 17 years, is being challenged by retired Army Capt. Pete Ross in the Democratic primary. Neither one obtained sufficient votes to receive the Stein Club endorsement. GLAA does not rate candidates running for the shadow seats.
The seats were created as positions of advocacy for D.C. statehood and voting representation in Congress. They are unpaid positions without any powers or duties from the Congress.
Strauss and Ross have been longtime supporters of the LGBT community.
Shadow House Seat
Latino community activist Franklin Garcia is running unopposed for the seat.