March 13, 2015 at 11:51 am EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Bowser backed candidate, Barry son trail in GLAA ratings
GLAA ratings, gay news, Washington Blade

Democratic candidate Sheila Bunn, who served as deputy chief of staff to former Mayor Vincent Gray and chief of staff to D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, came in first place in GLAA’s Ward 8 ratings. (Photo courtesy the Sheila Bunn campaign)

A candidate endorsed by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to fill the Ward 4 City Council seat she vacated in January finished in third place with a +5.5 rating on LGBT issues by the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance.

GLAA released its ratings on Wednesday for 25 candidates competing in an April 28 special election for the Ward 4 Council seat as well as the Ward 8 seat, which became vacant when Council member and former mayor Marion Barry died last November.

Barry’s son, Marion Christopher Barry, who is among 13 candidates running for the Ward 8 seat, came in second place in the GLAA ratings, with a score of +4.5.

GLAA rates candidates on a scale of -10, the lowest possible score, to +10, the highest possible rating.

The Bowser endorsed candidate, Brandon Todd, a Democrat, “turned in a solid questionnaire but showed little by way of a record on LGBT issues,” GLAA said in a statement accompanying its ratings.

The group said Marion Christopher Barry agrees with GLAA on all of the issues raised in the candidate questionnaire that it uses to assign a rating but he also “has a limited record on LGBT issues.”

Democratic candidate Sheila Bunn, who served as deputy chief of staff to former Mayor Vincent Gray and chief of staff to D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, came in first place in GLAA’s Ward 8 ratings, with a score of +9.

Bunn turned in a “strong” questionnaire and has a “solid record” on LGBT issues in her past role as a senior staffer for Gray and Norton, GLAA said in its statement.

In the Ward 4 race, GLAA awarded its highest rating to Democrat Dwayne Toliver, who received a +7 score. The group said Toliver returned a “strong” questionnaire and has a good record of support on LGBT issues.

In the Ward 8 race, longtime D.C. voting rights advocate Eugene Kinlow, who has been an ally of the LGBT community, came in fifth place with a +3.5 rating, a development that will likely surprise LGBT activists who have worked with Kinlow on statehood and voting rights issues.

Kinlow “agrees with GLAA on the issues but offered almost no substance” in his questionnaire responses, GLAA said.

The group has long said that candidates seeking a high rating must show a detailed understanding of LGBT-related issues. Only expressing agreement on specific positions isn’t enough to merit a high score, the group has said.

In keeping with its past policy, GLAA assigned an automatic “0” rating to 12 of the candidates competing in the two races because they failed to return a questionnaire and their records on LGBT issues were unknown to GLAA.

Following are GLAA’s ratings for each of the candidates competing in the Ward 4 and Ward 8 Council election set for April 28:


Ward 4

Dwayne M. Toliver, Democrat, +7

Edwin W. Powell, Democrat, +6.5

Brandon Todd, Democrat, +5.5

Adqunetta Anderson, Democrat, +3

Rene L. Bowser, Democrat, +2.5

Leon T. Andrews Jr., Democrat, 0

Ron Austin, Democrat, 0

Gwenellen Corley-Bowman, Democrat, 0

Judi Jones, Democrat, 0

Glova Scott, Socialist Workers, 0

Douglas Sloan, Democrat, 0

Bobvala Tengen, Democrat, 0


Ward 8

Sheila Bunn, Democrat, +9

Marion Christopher Barry, Democrat, +4.5

S.S. Sandra Seegars, Democrat, +4.5

LaRuby May, Democrat, +4

Eugene D. Kinlow, Democrat, +3.5

Keita Vanterpool, Independent, +3.5

Stuart Anderson, Democrat, +3

Jauhar Abraham, Democrat, +2

Greta Fuller, Democrat, 0

Anthony Muhammad, Democrat, 0

Leonard Watson Sr., Democrat, 0

Trayon ‘Ward 8’ White, Democrat, 0

Natalie Williams, Democrat, 0


The candidates’ full questionnaire responses can be viewed here.

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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