July 23, 2014 at 4:00 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Victory Fund endorses gay candidates in D.C. races
Courtney Snowden, gay news, Washington Blade

At-large D.C. Council candidate Courtney Snowden won the support of the Victory Fund this week. (Photo courtesy of the Raben Group)

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, a national group that raises money and provides campaign support for LGBT candidates for public office, announced on Tuesday that it has endorsed at-large D.C. Council candidate Courtney Snowden and D.C. State Board of Education candidate Scott Simpson.

The two candidates, who have longstanding ties to LGBT rights causes, are running in the city’s Nov. 4 general election in hotly contested races.

“As a native Washingtonian, Courtney Snowden has been a staunch advocate for students and education from the start,” said Victory Fund president and CEO Chuck Wolfe in a statement. “Her commitment to creating a city of integrity and transparency will be a tremendous asset on the City Council.”

Wolfe called Simpson, who’s running for the Ward 1 school board seat, a “passionate advocate for District schools” and someone who understands the challenges facing city schools. “He brings the experience and dedication necessary to help the District of Columbia Public Schools deliver a more quality education that the children deserve,” said Wolfe.

Snowden is running as an independent for one of two at-large seats on the Council up for election this year that is reserved under the city’s election law for a non-majority party candidate. The restriction means that a Democrat is ineligible for the seat, a development that has prompted 13 independent candidates, including Snowden, to take out petitions to run for the seat.

Gay Republican Marc Morgan and candidates nominated by the Statehood Green and Libertarian parties are also running for the so-called non-Democratic seat.

Under the election law, the non-Democratic candidates are eligible for both seats. But because the city’s registered voters are overwhelmingly Democratic, Democratic nominee Anita Bonds, who currently holds one of the two at-large seats, is considered the strong favorite to win re-election. The second seat is currently held by gay Council member David Catania (I-At-Large), who’s giving up the seat to run for mayor.

The Victory Fund endorsed Catania for mayor in February.

Simpson is a former official with the local LGBT youth advocacy group SMYAL and the current press secretary for the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. He is competing against four other candidates in the non-partisan race, including education advocate David Do, who’s also gay.

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

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