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McAuliffe defeats Cuccinelli in Virginia governor’s race

Republican attorney general faced criticism from LGBT advocates during campaign

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Terry McAuliffe, Virginia, Democratic Party, gay news, Washington Blade
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Terry McAuliffe speaks during a campaign rally with President Obama in Arlington, Va., on Nov. 3, 2013. (Photo by Lee Whitman)

TYSONS CORNER, Va.—Former Democratic National Committee Chair Terry McAuliffe on Tuesday defeated Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in the commonwealth’s hotly contested gubernatorial race.

With more than 99 percent of precincts reporting, McAuliffe narrowly defeated Cuccinelli by a 48-45 percent margin. Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Robert Sarvis came in third with nearly seven percent of the vote.

“Over the next four years, most Democrats and Republicans want to make Virginia a model for pragmatic leadership that is friendly to job creation; a model for strong schools that prepare students for jobs of tomorrow; a model for welcoming the best and the brightest scientists and innovators no matter your race, gender, religion or whom you love,” McAuliffe told supporters at the Sheraton Premiere at Tysons Corner who included Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Virginia Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine after CNN and other news outlets declared him the winner.

Cuccinelli again stressed during his concession speech that he feels the election was a referendum on the Affordable Care Act that President Obama signed in 2010.

“Despite being outspent by an unprecedented $15 million, this race came down to the wire because of Obamacare,” Cuccinelli told supporters in Richmond. “That message will go out across America tonight.”

McAuliffe defeated Cuccinelli by double-digit margins in Alexandria, Fairfax City and Falls Church and Arlington and Fairfax Counties. The former DNC chair beat his Republican opponent in Loudoun County by a 50-45 percent margin.

Sarvis told reporters after he and his wife voted at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria on Tuesday that his campaign was “pleased with the motivation of our supporters.”

“I’m probably the only person who can say I’m very proud of the campaign we ran,” he said.

Gov. Bob McDonnell is among those who congratulated McAuliffe.

“There is no higher honor than serving in the same office once held by Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson,” McDonnell said in a statement. “Virginia is a commonwealth of tremendous history and opportunity; this is the place where America began. The privilege of serving as governor carries with it immense responsibility. And I know Terry McAuliffe will act in the best interests of the more than eight million people who call Virginia home.”

GOP statewide ticket faced criticism over LGBT rights record

Cuccinelli faced persistent criticism from gay advocates and Democrats over his opposition to marriage rights for same-sex couples and other LGBT-specific issues during the campaign. These include his unsuccessful effort to appeal a court ruling earlier this year that found Virginia’s sodomy law unconstitutional.

Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia, Fairfax, Republican Party, gay news, Washington Blade

Ken Cuccinelli talks with reporters at Eagle View Elementary School in Fairfax, Va., on Nov. 5, 2013. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Cuccinelli told reporters outside Eagle View Elementary School in Fairfax earlier on Tuesday that taxes, the economy and the Affordable Care Act were the top three issues about which voters had asked him. The GOP gubernatorial candidate also said he received questions about his television ads.

“That’s where peoples’ focus is,” Cuccinelli said. “On a day like this — much like the rest of the campaign — we try to talk to voters about what they care about.”

Advocates were quick to point out after the Republican Party of Virginia nominated E.W. Jackson as their lieutenant gubernatorial candidate that he had previously compared gay men to pedophiles. The Chesapeake minister has also described gays and lesbians as “very sick people.”

State Sen. Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk) easily defeated Jackson by a 55-45 percent margin.

“Marriage equality and equality’s for all people,” Northam told the Washington Blade during a Nov. 1 interview. “It’s just the sensible way to go in my view.”

State Sen. Mark Herring (D-Loudoun County) leads state Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) to succeed Cuccinelli as attorney general by a 541 vote margin.

Republican Party of Virginia Chair Pat Mullins on Tuesday initially congratulated Obenshain for his “win” when the GOP candidate was ahead of Herring by roughly 7,500 votes, but the race remains too close to call.

“Election Day is over and I am honored to have a majority of Virginians cast their ballots for me for attorney general,” Herring said in a statement his campaign released early on Wednesday.

LGBT rights advocates welcome Va. election results

June Crenshaw, Ashley King, gay news, Washington Blade, HRC, Human Rights Campaign, Virginia, Democratic Party, Terry McAuliffe

LGBT rights advocates cheered at the Virginia Democratic Party post-election party in Tyson’s Corner on Nov. 5. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Gay state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) described McAuliffe and Northam’s wins as a “clear victory for equality” that brings “the promise of a new day for Virginia.”

“Without exception, the Democratic candidates for statewide office offered unflinching support for marriage equality, a welcoming business climate and respect for a woman’s right to choose,” Ebbin said. “The people of Virginia aligned themselves with McAuliffe’s and Northam’s vision of an inclusive, forward moving commonwealth.”

Ashley Smith of the Human Rights Campaign is among those with the organization who canvassed on behalf of McAuliffe in Northern Virginia, Richmond and the Hampton Roads area in the final weeks of the campaign. Many of them held signs and wore t-shirts that read “Virginia is for lovers of equality” as they awaited the election results in Tysons Corner.

“It was a great feeling,” Smith told the Blade after McAuliffe and Northam spoke to their supporters. “It’s time to change Virginia.”

Poll worker Dennis McNaughton told the Blade outside Christ Lutheran Church in Fairfax on Tuesday that GOP voters with whom he had spoken saw social issues as important going into the election.

“If you don’t have a moral upbringing and moral standard you’re kind of lost,” he said, referring to marriage rights for same-sex couples and abortion. “All those things, they lead to extinction.”

Catherine Read, a member of Equality Virginia’s Board of Directors who worked outside the same Fairfax polling place as McNaughton on Tuesday, noted to the Blade that Democrats who cast their ballots expressed concern over the Republican candidates’ opposition to nuptials for gays and lesbians and their positions on women’s reproductive health.

“There’s a lot of people focused on social issues,” Read said.

Fisette re-elected to Arlington County Board

Gay Arlington County Board Vice Chair Jay Fisette on Tuesday easily defeated Green Party challenger Audrey Clement.

Pro-LGBT state Dels. Rob Krupicka (D-Alexandria) and Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax County) easily won re-election. Atif Qarni lost to state Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William County), co-sponsor of the state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage that Virginia voters approved in 2006, by a 48-52 percent margin.

State Del. Tim Hugo (R-Fairfax County) defeated challenger Jerry Foltz.

Robert Sarvis, Libertarian Party, Virginia, Fairfax, gay news, Washington Blade

Libertarian Virginia gubernatorial candidate Robert Sarvis with his wife at a polling station in Alexandria, Va., on Nov. 5, 2013. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. EL DORADO

    November 5, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Great to see Cuccinelli go the way of George Allen.

  2. Rick Mangus

    November 6, 2013 at 1:55 am

    Virginia you all got screwed this election cycle, with a choice between McAuliffe the weasel and Cuccinelli the nut case. But you all did have the choice of Robert Sarvis so why didn’t you all take that choice?

    • Arlingtonian

      November 6, 2013 at 8:55 am

      Maybe because Virginia voters are not interested in dismantling government?

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Comings & Goings

Umana named associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol

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Wolfgang Umana (Photo courtesy of Umana)

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected]

Congratulations to Wolfgang Umana on being named an associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN). He has been with them for more than five years and is currently its D.C. studio’s office manager. 

“I am honored to become GGN’s newest Associate,” Umana said.I have the glorious privilege of supporting GGN’s continuing dedication to progress, inclusion, social justice, sustainability, and beautification of the world we live in.”

Umana also works with NBR Computer Consulting as an LLC Computer Technician consultant. He has experience in social media, communications, outreach, and technical services, and provides a dynamic approach to the fast-changing world of technology. NBR Computer Consulting, LLC is a gay-owned business. 

Umana has also served as D.C. Army National Guard Director of Environmental Affairs and with EMS Consultation Services. 

He has his bachelor’s in Environmental Science & Public Policy, Human and Ecosystem Response to Climate Change, from George Mason University. 

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Capital Pride bids for D.C. to host World Pride 2025

International event draws thousands of visitors

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Confetti rained down in New York’s Times Square at Stonewall 50 WorldPride New York’s closing ceremony two years ago. D.C. organizers hope to host the event in 2025. (Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.)

The Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes D.C.’s annual LGBTQ Pride events, announced on Sept. 21 that it has submitted a bid to host 2025 World Pride, the international Pride event that draws thousands of participants from throughout the world to the host city.

The announcement by Capital Pride says its bid to host the event in D.C. notes that the event, among other things, would commemorate the 50th anniversary of D.C.’s first LGBTQ Pride event in 1975, which began as a block party near Dupont Circle.

World Pride is licensed and administered by the international LGBTQ organization InterPride. The World Pride events themselves, which usually take place every other year, are organized by InterPride’s member organizations such as Capital Pride Alliance.

The Capital Pride announcement notes that World Pride “promotes visibility and awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) issues on a global level.” The announcement adds, “World Pride events include parades, marches, festivals and other cultural activities often enjoyed at Pride celebrations, along with other components such as a human rights conference and large-scale opening and closing ceremonies.”

The InterPride website says the deadline for submitting a bid for the 2025 World Pride has passed. It says D.C.’s Capital Pride and Kaohsiung Pride, located in the large Taiwan port city of Kaohsiung, are the only two remaining cities in competition for hosting the 2025 World Pride.

Ryan Bos, Capital Pride’s executive director, said InterPride was expected to make its decision on which of the two cities to select sometime in November of this year.

“A recent study conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton revealed that the annual Capital Pride Celebrations, during normal years, result in approximately $371 million in positive economic impacts to the region, a number that may be doubled if the organization is awarded the prestigious event,” the Capital Pride statement says.

The 2021 World Pride took place earlier this year in Copenhagen, Denmark. The 2019 World Pride was held in New York City to commemorate the 50th anniversary of New York’s Stonewall riots, which many activists consider the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

InterPride says the 2023 World Pride will take place in Sydney, Australia.

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Va. county supervisors back resolution against ‘required’ pronoun questions

Unanimous vote in Stafford County allows school defunding

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What's Your Pronoun? review, gay news, Washington Blade
(Image courtesy of Liveright Publishing)

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution that gives it the authority to deny funds to schools that require students to give their pronouns and teach the 1619 Project and critical race theory.

The resolution denounces “the teaching of the 1619 Project and critical race theory (CRT) and related principles in Stafford County Public Schools,” and states the board does not support Stafford County Public School students “being required to identify their chosen pronouns.”

The approved document had been updated to change “requested” to give pronouns to “required.”

Republican Supervisor Gary Snellings told the board he brought the resolution forward, which passed by a 6-0 vote margin, in response to communication from parents. One supervisor was not present.

Snellings called critical race theory “racism.” He also called the New York Times’ 1619 Project published on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans to the Virginia colony a “theory.”

Critical race theory is not taught in Virginia public schools, but a state law passed in 2020 requires local school boards to adopt policies that are more inclusive for transgender and non-binary students that follow, or exceed, guidelines from the state’s Department of Education.

Snellings said the problem with preferred pronouns was in requiring students to give them. He said that was not in the governing Virginia law.

“This (resolution) does not eliminate anything. It just follows state law,” Snellings said.

A Virginia court in July dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the Department of Education’s guidelines for trans and non-binary students. Equality Virginia and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia were parties to the amicus brief in support of the protections.

“We are deeply disappointed that these adults made such a hateful decision for kids in the community,” tweeted the ACLU of Virginia in response to the board’s vote.

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