June 23, 2016 at 12:31 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
White wins most ‘gay’ precincts in at-large Council race
Robert White, gay news, Washington Blade

Robert White beat incumbent Councilman Vincent Orange in ‘gay’ precincts. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Challenger Robert White beat incumbent Council member Vincent Orange in the city’s June 14 Democratic primary in 14 out of 16 precincts with large numbers of LGBT residents in his upset victory over Orange in a three-candidate race.

In final citywide vote totals released by the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, White received 39.7 percent of the vote. Orange received 37.4 percent and gay former Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner David Garber received 14.6 percent.

In the 16 voter precincts that the Washington Blade has monitored because they are believed to have high concentrations of LGBT residents, Garber received significantly higher vote totals than he did citywide. He came in second place ahead of Orange in five of those precincts located in neighborhoods in Dupont and Logan Circles, and Capitol Hill.

White, Orange, and Garber each expressed strong support for LGBT rights during their respective campaigns. White, a former aide to D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and a former member of the staff of D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, was better known among LGBT activists.

Garber, a political newcomer, although considered a strong advocate for LGBT equality, was less known to many of the city’s LGBT advocates, who came out in support of White.

Orange, meanwhile, was viewed as less supportive on LGBT rights among many activists because of his outspoken opposition to same-sex marriage when he ran for mayor in 2006. At that time he denounced then mayoral candidate Adrian Fenty as being unfit for public office because of Fenty’s support for gay marriage. Fenty won the mayoral election by a wide margin.

Orange has since changed his position on marriage equality, saying he not only is a committed supporter but has performed same-sex marriages. He told a candidates’ forum organized by the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, the city’s largest local LGBT political group, that he evolved on the same-sex marriage issue just like President Obama and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

One of the two ‘LGBT’ precincts that Orange won was Precinct 112 in Anacostia, where he received 58.1 percent of the vote compared to 28.8 percent for White and 6.2 percent for Garber. The other was Precinct 18 in Shaw, where he received 36.9 percent compared to 31.1 percent for White and 25 percent for Garber.

Garber’s strongest showing among the LGBT precincts was in Precinct 90 on Capitol Hill, where he received 34.5 percent compared to Orange, who received 18.5 percent. White won that precinct with 36.7 percent.

White’s strongest showing among the LGBT precincts was Precinct 25 in Adams Morgan, where he received 56.1 percent of the vote compared to Orange, who received 17.9 percent and Garber, who received 15.4 percent.

White is considered the favorite to win one of two Council at-large seats on the ballot in the November general election.

Following is a list of the 16 precincts with large concentrations of LGBT residents and voters and the vote count, by percentage, as reported by the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics:

Precinct 14 (Dupont Circle): White, 42.8; Orange, 22.8; Garber, 22.2

Precinct 15 (Dupont Circle): White, 40.8; Orange, 16.6; Garber, 28.2

Precinct 16 (Logan Circle): White, 45.2; Orange, 16.1; Garber, 30.5

Precinct 17 (Logan Circle): White 38.8; Orange, 24.9; Garber, 23.1

Precinct 18 (Shaw): White, 31.1; Orange, 36.9; Garber, 25

Precinct 22 (U St., NW Corridor): White, 41.5; Orange, 20.9; Garber, 28.6

Precinct 23 (Columbia Heights): White, 42.1; Orange, 26.4; Garber, 19.6

Precinct 36 (Columbia Heights): White, 45.2; Orange, 32.6; Garber, 14.6

Precinct 24 (Adams Morgan): White, 49.1; Orange, 22.5; Garber, 19.4

Precinct 25 (Adams Morgan): White, 56.1; Orange, 17.9; Garber, 15.4

Precinct 89 (Capitol Hill): White, 50.6; Orange, 14.7; Garber, 25.4

Precinct 90 (Capitol Hill): White, 36.7; Orange, 18.5; Garber, 34.5

Precinct 112 (Anacostia): White, 28.8; Orange, 58.9; Garber, 6.2

Precinct 127 (SW Waterfront): White, 39.4; Orange, 34.0; Garber, 19.3

Precinct 40 (Mt. Pleasant): White, 54.8; Orange, 20.2; Garber, 15.0

Precinct 75 (Eckington): White, 39.6; Orange, 35.4; Garber, 17.7

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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