April 14, 2010 at 12:10 am EDT | by Chris Johnson
Gay candidate wins apparent election as Fla. mayor

The city of Gainesville, Fla., on Tuesday night apparently elected an openly gay man as mayor by a margin of 35 votes.

Craig Lowe, a 52-year-old gay city commissioner, beat out Don Marsh, a window-cleaning business owner, in an apparent victory in a mayoral runoff election.

County law in the area requires a recount in cases where victories are achieved by a margin of less than 0.5 percent. If Lowe survives this recount, he’ll become the first out gay mayor in northern Florida, and one of fewer than 30 openly LGBT mayors serving in the United States, according to the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.

In a statement provided by Equality Florida, Lowe gave particular thanks to the organization’s political action committee for its assistance in his election.

“I would like to thank Equality Florida Action PAC for their tremendous help in my race,” Lowe said. “Not only did they endorse my candidacy early on, they also served as a watchdog against the lies about my campaign and put people on the ground to help get our message out to voters.”

According to Equality Florida, Lowe endured “homophobic rhetoric and smear tactics” in the weeks before his win. A local church posted a “No Homo Mayor” billboard on their front lawn.

In addition to the state LGBT organization, Lowe received endorsments from the Victory Fund as well as other local organizations such as the Gainesville Professional Firefighters’ Association, the African American Coalition for Political Action and the Alligator Newspaper.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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