April 12, 2018 at 6:42 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Prominent LGBT activists back Bonds in D.C. Council race
Anita Bonds, gay news, Washington Blade

Council member Anita Bonds (D-At-Large) is finding LGBT support in her bid for re-election. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Fourteen prominent LGBT Democrats have announced their support for the re-election of D.C. Council member Anita Bonds (D-At-Large) in a race in which a lesbian is running as an independent for one of the two at-large Council seats up for grabs in November.

Bonds, a longtime supporter of LGBT rights, is facing three challengers for the Democratic Party nomination for one of the two at-large seats in the city’s June 19 Democratic primary.

Lesbian businesswoman Dionne Reeder is expected to be on the ballot in the general election in November when, under the city’s election law, a Democrat is only eligible to run for one of the two at-large seats. The other seat is currently held by Council member Elissa Silverman, an independent who’s also running for re-election.

Candidates of all parties as well as independents will be lumped together on the same ballot in November, with voters given the option of voting for two candidates.  The highest two vote-getters will be declared the winner.

Although Reeder has said she considers Silverman to be her rival in the race, Reeder and Silverman or Reeder and one of the other independent or third-party candidates running in November could theoretically beat Bonds if they receive more votes than Bonds.

The Democrats backing Bonds, who are part of a recently formed committee called LGBTQ for Anita, have made it clear that they want Bonds to hold on to one of the two at-large seats.

Among them are veteran gay Democratic activist Paul Kuntzler, who is a co-founder of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club; transgender activist Earline Budd; gay attorney Darrin Glymph; lesbian attorney Lateefah Williams; gay Democratic activist Kurt Vorndran; and gay seniors advocate Ron Swanda.

Others on the committee include gay Democratic activists Ron Collins, Everett Hamilton, Clark Ray, Martin Murray and John Lazar. Lesbian Democratic activist Claire Lucas, transgender activist Julius Agers and gay Democratic activist David Meadows, who works on Bonds’ Council staff, are also on the LGBTQ for Bonds committee.

Bonds’ challengers in the Democratic primary – community activists Aaron Holmes, Marcus Goodwin and Jeremiah Lowery – have far less name recognition than Bonds, prompting political observers to consider Bonds as the strong favorite to win the primary.

In Ward 1, gay Advisory Neighborhood Commission chair Kent Boese is one of three candidates challenging Ward 1 Council member Brianne Nadeau in the June 19 Democratic primary.

Gay American sign language translator Jamie Sycamore last fall announced his candidacy for the Ward 1 Council seat but later dropped out as a candidate in the Democratic primary and announced he is running for the seat as an independent in November.

Also appearing on the June 19 primary ballot as Libertarian Party candidates are longtime gay libertarian activists Martin Moulton and Bruce Majors. Moulton is running unopposed for his party’s nomination for mayor. Majors is also running unopposed for the Libertarian nomination for city’s congressional delegate seat currently held by Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Moulton will be among several third-party or independent candidates on the mayoral ballot in November. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is considered the odds-on favorite to win the Democratic primary on June 19 against three candidates with little or no name recognition.

Unless a prominent political figure enters the mayoral race as an independent, Bowser is also considered the strong favorite to win re-election in the general election in November.

Five gay men and one lesbian, meanwhile, will be on the June 19 primary ballot as candidates for the D.C. Democratic State Committee, which serves as the governing body for the city’s Democratic Party.

Among them are veteran gay rights and Ward 8 community activist Phil Pannell, who is running for an at-large seat on the State Committee. Gay Democrats John Fanning and John Lazar are running for two of the four State Committee seats representing Ward 2. Lesbian Democratic activist Audrey Alvarado is running for one of the four Ward 3 seats on the committee.

Gay Democratic activists Franco Ciammachilli and David Meadows are running for two of the four Ward 6 seats on the committee.

Pannell, Fanning, Alvarado, and Ciammachilli are running on a slate for their respective seats on the committee called Dump Trump-Democrats 4 Action. Lazar and Meadows are running on a competing slate called Democrats Moving Forward.

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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