June 10, 2014 at 10:03 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Bowser wins Stein Club endorsement
Muriel Bowser, gay news, Washington Blade

Muriel Bowser won the endorsement of the Stein Club in her bid for mayor. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, the city’s largest LGBT political group, voted Monday night to endorse D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) for mayor.

The club also voted to endorse Council member Anita Bonds (D-At-Large) in her re-election bid, Ward 1 Council candidate Brianne Nadeau and Ward 6 Council candidate Charles Allen. Bonds, Nadeau and Allen each won the Democratic nomination for their respective Council seats in the city’s April 1 primary.

Bowser also won the Democratic primary, beating Mayor Vincent Gray and three other Council members who ran for mayor.

The club’s vote on the endorsements followed a town hall meeting in which Bowser, Nadeau and Allen spoke and answered questions from club members about their positions on both LGBT and other issues.

The meeting was held at the Human Rights Campaign building at 17th Street and Rhode Island Ave., N.W.

The endorsements also came after at least five club members who are supporting D.C. Council member David Catania (I-At-Large) for mayor sought to block an endorsement vote, citing provisions of the club’s bylaws that they said did not allow such a vote unless a special endorsement forum was held or unless a separate vote was taken to suspend the rules.

Stein Club President Angela Peoples said the club’s executive committee carefully reviewed the bylaws and determined they did not prevent the club from voting to endorse Bowser and the three Council candidates as well as shadow Senate incumbent Paul Straus, who also won the Democratic nomination for his post in the April 1 primary.

The vote on Monday night came in the form of a motion introduced by Stein Club member Jeri Hughes that called for endorsing all Democratic nominees that the club didn’t endorse for the primary.

The club didn’t make primary endorsements for mayor, the three Council seats and the shadow Senate seat because no candidate obtained the required 60 percent of the vote needed for an endorsement as specified by the club’s bylaws.

At Monday night’s meeting, the club voted 35 to 8 to approve a motion calling for the endorsements. There were two abstentions, two “no votes,” and one spoiled ballot. The vote for the endorsements passed with 73 percent of those voting, easily clearing the 60 percent rule.

“I’m glad the Democrats are going to support the Democrats,” Bowser said after the vote. “That’s what the Gertrude Stein is all about.”

Bowser was referring to the discussion last month by some club members, including the officers, that an endorsement vote for Bowser and the Council candidates wasn’t needed because it should be assumed that a Democratic club would support the Democratic nominees.

Other club members, however, speaking on condition that they not be identified, suggested that the club’s officers wanted to avoid a direct endorsement vote in the general election out of fear that Catania supporters might line up enough votes to block the 60 percent threshold needed for an endorsement.

Peoples said the officers never sought to avoid an endorsement vote. She said the officers waited before scheduling an endorsement vote to ensure that the process was open and club members had a chance to weigh in on the decision. Peoples said the officers also wanted to hold a town hall meeting to give members the opportunity to listen and ask questions of the candidates before voting on an endorsement.

Monday’s vote suggests that Catania supporters could only muster about 13 votes, which fell short of the 40 percent needed to block an endorsement.

The club members that spoke out against an endorsement of Bowser on Monday night were Don Haines, Paul Kuntzler, Lane Hudson, Pat Hawkins, Robin Helprin and John Klenert. All except Haines are supporting Catania. Haines said he’s undecided on whom to back for mayor.


Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • A Bowser endorsement was the right and only move for the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club.

    No one would expect the Log Cabin Republicans to not endorse a Republican unless that person were opposed to the civil and human rights of the LGBT community and even then Log Cabin has endorsed.

    Stein is a Democratic Club and had they not endorsed a Democratic candidate who has consistently spoken out for and voted for LGBT rights the club could have closed their doors.

    I have no problem with individuals who want to vote another way, that is their choice, but this is a Democratic Club.

    • Yes, and the fact that it is a partisan group means that it does not speak in any way for the gay community. It speaks only for those gays who blindly put party ahead of community. So, yeah, it’s no surprise that party hacks endorsed the party nominee.

  • To be clear, I was speaking for the rules of procedure to be adhered to. The Club’s Leadership failed to communicate the location of the meeting until the very last minute. There were also suggestions of the Club working to secure the endorsement on behalf of Bowser. There were also rumors that retribution was threatened from the Democratic State Committee. The Club’s Leadership also was blatantly ignoring valid points of order at the discretion of the Chair, which is not allowed under Robert’s Rules of Order. It was a classic strong arm event that Muriel Bowser never would have succeeded at without a significant amount of coordination and collusion with the Club Leadership.

  • Hearing rumors and suggestions of rumors are not violations of rules of procedure.

    At the meeting, a point of order was raised. The Chair consulted with the Parliamentarian and made a ruling. The ruling of the Chair was appealed and all but a mere six people concurred with the Chair’s ruling. With it clear that the vast majority of the Club was ready for Muriel, in a dilatory action, the point of order was repeated with the results the same — a mere six dissenters from the consensus of the Club. Finally thanks to the calm leadership of the Chair, the Club was at long last allowed to voice its view and endorse Muriel Bowser to be our next mayor. While the Club has now made a clear statement of support, the single digit number of members with a contrary view retain every right to act according their conscience in an individual capacity.

    • The Parliamentarian wasn’t even familiar with the rules of the club, much less Robert’s Rules of Order, which must be adhered to absent an issue being covered by the Club’s by-laws. Just because the Chair makes a ruling doesn’t make it proper with the rules. She wouldn’t even entertain a motion to appeal the decision of the Chair, a motion clearly not in the purview for her to rule out of order.

      As for the rumors, they have little to do with the rules of procedure and more to do with the fact that the Club Leadership worked fervently for Bowser and had little interest in giving folks the notice of the details of the meeting to have any dissent outside of endorsing the entire ticket. How a candidate goes from single digit support for the regular endorsement meeting, which we had two months notice on to 73% is only accomplished by ensuring any opposition was silenced by any means possible.

  • Regarding the DC Democratic State Committee: In the eyes of the losing beholder, “it’s retribution”. In the eyes of the winning beholder, “it’s party discipline”.

  • The Club’s Leadership failed to communicate the location of the meeting until the very last minute. There were also suggestions of the Club working to secure the endorsement on behalf of Bowser – Lane
    I suspect Lane is spot on. Meeting time and agenda manipulations, private networking and even blatant meeting misinformation is fairly classic DC Dems dishonest, back room politics. Ward 5 has been pretty notorious for it. That’s how the Marriage Equality Ward 5 vote was ‘won’ by opponents in 2009.
    If Club’s meeting was not fairly and timely noticed, the whole damn thing is a sham.

  • Lane and Brian,

    There is a process in place where any registered DC Democrat can challenge errant procedures performed by any DC Democratic organization in DC. As everyone knows, Gertrude Stein is a chartered member of the DC Democratic State Committee and must abide by DCDSC criteria. The State Committee has a permanent subcommittee known as the “Party Organization and Functions Committee”. That committee is charged with oversight of constituent and organizational conduct which include review of Roberts Rules of Order procedures. They are required to accept and review all complaints and after an investigation, they report and make recommendations to the full body of the DC Democratic State Committee. Regardless of the outcome, you will be given a chance exercise your democratic right to state your case.

    There is the door and the pathway. Good Luck.

© Copyright Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. 2021. All rights reserved. Protected with CloudFlare, hosted by Keynetik.