Several LGBT candidates who are running for statewide office in Maryland will be on the ballot in Tuesday’s primaries.
State Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) is among the Democrats who are running to succeed Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.
A poll that Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies conducted between June 4-10 found 25 percent of Democratic voters would vote for Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker.
Slightly more than 22 percent of respondents said they would vote for former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous. Madaleno came in third with 9.1 percent of respondents saying they would vote for him.
The poll notes Hogan has a 75 percent approval rating. It also indicates he would defeat Madaleno by a 50-36 percent margin if they were to face off against each other in the general election.
Madaleno campaign spokesperson Marguerite Gallorini told the Blade the ad in which Madaleno kisses his husband, Mark Hodge, and criticizes President Trump has “engaged a lot of people” and generated $4 million in free advertising. Gallorini also said Madaleno and his running mate, Luwanda Jenkins, have a “real progressive vision based on a record of actual results thanks to our long experience as public servants.”
“We are confident that the voters are realizing this,” said Gallorini.
Madaleno is running against former State Department official Alec Ross; lawyer Jim Shea and Krishanti Vignarajah, who was former first lady Michelle Obama’s policy director, in the primary.
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz died of a heart attack on May 17. His running mate, former Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin, subsequently announced she would run for governor but endorsed Baker on June 13.
Madaleno could become the country’s first openly gay governor if he were to defeat Hogan. Julie Verratti, who is Ross’ running mate, would be Maryland’s first out lieutenant governor if her ticket wins in November.
“There are some people who try to make my candidacy about my sexuality, but not me,” Verratti told the Blade in a statement. “I am a solid candidate because of my life and work experience. Being gay is a part of who I am, but is not the reason people want to vote for me and Alec. They see us as advocates and as accomplished business leaders who know how to bring together diverse coalitions.”
Candidates hope to make history in Md. General Assembly
State Del. Mary Washington (D-Baltimore City) is running against longtime state Sen. Joan Carter Conway (D-Baltimore City) in Senate District 43. Washington would be the first openly LGBT person of color in the Maryland Senate if she were to win in November.
Gender Rights Maryland Executive Director Dana Beyer is running against state Del. Jeff Waldstreicher (D-Montgomery County) and Michelle Carhart in Senate District 18. Beyer, who unsuccessfully ran against Madaleno in the 2014 Democratic primary, would become the country’s first openly transgender state senator if she were to win her race.
“I will show up and represent our neighbors and our values,” said Beyer on Wednesday.
Gabriel Acevero, who is running for the Maryland House of Delegates in House District 39, would be the first openly gay man of Afro-Latino descent elected to the Maryland General Assembly if he were to win his race.
Mila Johns, who is running in House District 18, would be the first openly bisexual person elected to the General Assembly. Kevin Mack, who is running in House District 15, would be the first person with HIV elected to the General Assembly.
“I wasn’t going to live in shame about it,” Mack told Mark King of the blog “My Fabulous Disease” in a recent interview about his decision to publicly disclose his status. “I wasn’t supposed to be alive past 40, so this is a gift. I am here.”
Other openly LGBT candidates who are on the ballot in Maryland include Montgomery County Council candidates Pete Fosselman and Evan Glass. State Dels. Bonnie Cullison (D-Montgomery County), Anne Kaiser (D-Montgomery County), Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City) and Maggie McIntosh (D-Baltimore City), Howard County Registrar of Wills Byron MacFarlane and Frederick County Board of Election member Liz Barrett are running for re-election.