A gay candidate for mayor in the resort city of Rehoboth Beach, Del., and two gays running for the Rehoboth Board of Commissioners, which serves as a city council, lost their races on Saturday, Aug. 9, following campaigns that focused on non-LGBT issues.
Gay businessman Tom McGlone finished behind eight-term incumbent Mayor Sam Cooper by a margin of 65 percent 35 percent.
McGlone received fewer votes this time than he did in 2011, when he ran for the first time against Cooper in the Rehoboth mayor’s race. At that time, Cooper beat McGlone by a margin of 58 percent to 42 percent.
“It was a great campaign. My team did a fantastic job,” McGlone told the Daily Times of Salisbury, Md. “A number of good issues came up for this, and I hope some of them resonate with the mayor and the commissioners.”
McGlone is managing partner and co-owner of a financial services firm with offices in Lewes, Del., and Sparks, Md.
The two gay candidates running for Rehoboth Board of Commissioners – Lawrence Myslewski and John Meng – were competing in a five-candidate race for two seats up for election this year.
Myslewski, an international personnel consultant for the World Bank and former business owner in Rehoboth, came in fourth place with 171 votes. Meng, former owner of the Rehoboth gay bar known as the L Bar, which closed earlier this year, and a volunteer firefighter, came in fifth place with 163 votes.
Former Commissioner Kathleen McGuiness came in first place in the commissioner race with 611 votes, winning her bid to return to the seat she held for nearly 12 years prior to 2012. Incumbent Commissioner Lorraine Zellers came in second with 584 votes in her successful re-election race.
Rehoboth gay activist Peter Schott, who worked on McGlone’s campaign in 2011, said he didn’t get involved in the mayor’s race this year.
“Gays I have spoken to think the town is being run well, so there is no need for change,” Schott said.
With a large LGBT presence in Rehoboth for more than 30 years, and with gay candidates winning election to the city commission in past years, Rehoboth officials have long been supportive of the LGBT community.
Sharon Lynn, Rehoboth’s recently appointed city manager, is an out lesbian who previously served as town manager of Provincetown, Mass., the popular LGBT-oriented beach resort on Cape Cod.
Steve Elkins, executive director of CAMP Rehoboth, an LGBT community center, served as moderator for a July 25 candidates forum for the mayoral and city commission candidates sponsored by the Rehoboth Beach Homeowner’s Association. The event was held at the Camp Rehoboth center.
Myslewski created a stir last year when he filed a lawsuit in federal court against the City of Rehoboth Beach and named the mayor, police chief, and each member of the city commission as defendants. The lawsuit charges that an ordinance passed by the commission to place parking restrictions and a registration fee on motor scooters is unconstitutional.
A federal judge in October dismissed the lawsuit but Myslewski immediately appealed the decision, promising to drag out a case that could incur significant legal expenses for the city.
Gay activist and longtime Rehoboth visitor John Klenert said Myslewski’s lawsuit likely cost him at least some votes in the Aug. 9 election.