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Gay Alexandria City Council candidate loses primary

Sean Holihan was among 14 Council candidates on the Democratic primary ballot



gay news, washington blade, virginia politics
Sean Holihan and Danny Barefoot, gay news, gay politics dc

Sean Holihan and his partner Danny Barefoot. (Courtesy of Sean Holihan for City Council)

Gay Alexandria City Council candidate Sean Holihan on Tuesday did not receive enough votes in the contentious Democratic primary to advance to the general election.

Unofficial election results show that former Councilman Timothy Lovain received 9.09 percent of the vote. Former Councilman Justin Wilson came in second with 8.75 percent of the vote. Gay incumbent Councilman Paul Smedberg came in fifth with 8.35 percent of the vote.

Smedberg and the other five winners will square off against three Republican candidates in November.

“The voters decided to go with an established group of great candidates who have had good bases of support and have lived in the community for a very long time,” Holihan told the Blade. “I’ll be happy to work with them in November.”

Holihan, who is NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia’s communications director, declared his candidacy in January. He stressed to the Blade earlier on Tuesday that he was optimistic going into the primary.

“It’s been a pretty intense primary and I hope we can turn out on top,” he said. “We ran a pretty good race.”

Holihan pointed to what he described as long-term development of the city as one of the issues that prompted him to run.

“D.C. is one of the top growing job areas in the country because government and health care are the two fastest growing job sectors, and we can’t build a wall around the city,” he said. “We need to figure out how to handle the need for more housing as well as grow our commercial tax base in order to pay for all the things we need like better transit, schools as well as our infrastructure like sewer systems.”

Holihan, who chairs the Equality Virginia Political Action Committee, criticized incumbent Republican Councilman Frank Fannon last month for suggesting that marriage rights for same-sex couples is a “divisive issue.” Mayor William Euille is among the more than 200 mayors from across the country who have joined Freedom to Marry’s “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry” campaign.

Holihan added that the gay Richmond prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland’s failed nomination as a General District Court judge is among the issues about which voters have spoken with him.

“When I go knocking on doors people often bring up Richmond as far as [Attorney General] Ken Cuccinelli and ultrasound [bill] stuff,” he said. “During that whole week with Tracy Thorne-Begland, that came up numerous times; [they were] just kind of shaking their heads in disbelief that they didn’t think Richmond couldn’t get any worse. And of course they managed to find a way to do that.”

Holihan also responded to a Washington Post article on Monday that reported his partner, Danny Barefoot, donated $3,000 to a PAC that attacked fellow Democratic Council candidate Boyd Walker.

“We’ve run a really progressive race and a positive tone,” he said. “Danny is a campaign professional. He’s a consultant. We are two separate people. We live in the same house. We’ve worked together on many things, but he’s a separate person. We have separate bank accounts so what he does in his own professional manner is not something that he’s ever had to ask my permission for.”

Holihan said he has no plans to run for office again.




Carlton R. Smith: LGBTQ advocate, ‘mayor’ of Mount Vernon, passes away

‘The Duchess’ died on May 29 in his sleep



Carlton R. Smith, an LGBTQ advocate, died May 29. He was 61. (Photo courtesy of Carlton R. Smith)

BY JOHN-JOHN WILLIAMS IV | Carlton R. Smith was affectionately called “The Duchess” in a nod to royalty, because of his unofficial role of mayor of Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood. He was a “walking billboard” for Calvin Klein, with a love for purple, Batman, cooking, house music, Prince, and Diana Ross.

“If you said Duchess, you knew who that was,” said his close friend of 25-years, Carrietta Hiers.

The rest of this article can be found on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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Moore pardons more than 175,000-plus cannabis-related convictions

Governor signed executive order at State House on Monday



Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (Public domain photo/Twitter)

BY BRENDA WINTRODE and PAMELA WOOD | Gov. Wes Moore pardoned more than 175,000 cannabis-related convictions Monday, nullifying guilty verdicts decided when carrying small amounts of the drug or paraphernalia was illegal.

The Democratic governor signed an executive order during a State House ceremony, granting clemency to thousands of people convicted in Maryland. The convictions to be pardoned include more than 150,000 misdemeanors for simple possession and more than 18,000 for possession of drug paraphernalia with an intent to use.

The rest of this article can be read on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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Blade wins multiple journalism awards

Society of Professional Journalists recognizes writing, design work



The D.C. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists honored the work of the Washington Blade at its annual Dateline Awards dinner last week.

The Blade took top honors in the weekly newspaper editorial/opinion writing category for a piece by Michael Lavers, the Blade’s international news editor, titled, “Bearing witness to the unimaginable,” which recounted watching raw footage of Hamas’s attack against Israel on Oct. 7.

In it, Lavers wrote, “The Israeli government clearly wants the world to understand the barbarity of what happened on Oct. 7, and that is why it has shown footage of that horrific Saturday to journalists and lawmakers. The footage left me deeply shaken, and perhaps that was the point.”

Washington Blade graphic designer Meaghan Juba won the Dateline Award for front-page design in the weekly newspaper category.

And in the weekly newspaper-features category, the Blade’s Kathi Wolfe was recognized as a finalist for her piece titled, “Meet one of the most powerful disabled people on the planet.”

“These awards reflect our 55-year commitment to journalistic excellence,” said Blade Editor Kevin Naff. “Congratulations to our team for another year of award-winning journalism.”

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