February 23, 2016 at 11:51 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Clippinger endorses Van Hollen in U.S. Senate race

Luke Clippinger, Maryland House of Delegates, Democratic Party, Baltimore, gay news, Washington Blade

Maryland state Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City) has endorsed Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen for U.S. Senate. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen on Tuesday announced that gay state Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City) has endorsed his U.S. Senate campaign.

“I am excited to endorse Chris Van Hollen for U.S. Senate,” Clippinger told the Washington Blade in a statement.

Van Hollen as a member of the Maryland Senate co-sponsored a 2001 bill that banned discrimination based on sexual orientation in the state. Clippinger also pointed out to the Blade that Van Hollen “politically and financially” supported the campaign in support of Maryland’s same-sex marriage law ahead of the 2012 referendum on it

The Baltimore City Democrat noted that Van Hollen is a co-sponsor of the Equality Act that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to federal civil rights law. Clippinger also pointed out that the congressman is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Transgender Equality Task Force.

“Chris has been a leader on important issues for LGBT Marylanders,” said Clippinger.

Van Hollen declared his candidacy last March shortly after U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) announced her retirement from the U.S. Senate. The congressman who has represented Maryland’s 8th Congressional District since 2003 will face Congresswoman Donna Edwards in the April 26 Democratic primary.

State Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) and state Del. Maggie McIntosh (D-Baltimore City) have endorsed Van Hollen. Former state Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery County) last August announced her support of the congressman’s U.S. Senate campaign.

A poll that Goucher College released on Wednesday shows Edwards ahead of Van Hollen by a 39-37 percent margin. The candidates’ latest Federal Election Commission filings indicate that Van Hollen has outraised Edwards by more than 10-to-1.

Chrysovalantis Kefalas, a gay Republican who was former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich’s legal counsel, in December announced his candidacy to succeed Mikulski. State Del. Kathy Szeliga (R-Baltimore and Harford Counties), Anthony Seda and Richard Douglas will face off against Kefalas in the GOP primary.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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