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Gay candidates call for restoring LGBTQ representation on D.C. Council

Ward 1 and 5 contenders join two gay rivals in backing programs for queer youth

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Gay former D.C. police officer Salah Czapary is running in the city’s June 21 Democratic primary for the Ward 1 D.C. Council seat. (Screen capture via YouTube)

Gay former D.C. police officer Salah Czapary, who’s running in the city’s June 21 Democratic primary for the Ward 1 D.C. Council seat, and gay D.C. school board member Zachary Parker, who’s running in the primary for the Ward 5 Council seat, told viewers of a virtual May 4 LGBTQ candidates forum that they hope to bring back direct LGBTQ representation on the Council.

Czapary was among the three Democratic Ward 1 Council candidates, including incumbent Council member Brianne Nadeau and fellow challenger Sabel Harris, who participated in one of two forums Wednesday night organized by Capital Stonewall Democrats, the city’s largest local LGBTQ political group.

Parker was one of four of the seven candidates running in the hotly contested Ward 5 Council race that participated in the second of the two forms held by Stonewall on Wednesday evening. The others who participated were Gordon Fletcher, Faith Gibson Hubbard, and Vincent Orange, a former Ward 5 and at-large D.C. Council member.

The Ward 5 candidates who didn’t participate were Kathy Henderson, Art Lloyd, and Gary Johnson. Capital Stonewall Democrats didn’t provide a reason for their absence.

Similar to their fellow candidates, Czapary and Parker pledged to address the needs of all of the diverse residents of their respective wards, especially those they referred to as underserved and underrepresented.

“Despite D.C. being a city with the highest count of LGBTQ individuals per capita than any other city, we currently don’t have representation on the Council,” Parker said at the Ward 5 forum. “And I’m hoping my candidacy this cycle changes that.”

Czapary said if elected he would aggressively address issues of concern to all Ward 1 residents, especially LBTQ residents, with a special outreach to the trans community.

“Washington, D.C. has a thriving LGBTQ community,” he said. “But far too many of our LGBTQ residents are not able to access healthcare, housing or employment,” he added. “I promise to be a tireless, present and accessible and available Council member, an advocate for our community and all communities.”

Nadeau, the Ward 1 incumbent running for her third term on the Council, pointed to her longstanding record of support for LGBTQ issues. Although she didn’t say so directly, she acknowledged that she began her first term in office in January 2015 after defeating then openly gay Ward 1 Council member Jim Graham in the 2014 Democratic primary.

“When I first became a Council member, I knew that I was taking over a very special role in the community,” she told the Stonewall Democrats forum. “Not only because I was succeeding an openly gay Council member but also because of the depth and breadth of the involvement of our LGBTQ community in Ward 1.”

Added Nadeau, “I take that responsibility very seriously. And as a result, since day one walking in the door I knew that I could be an ally and work on the issues our LGBTQ community faces.”

Graham, who won election to the Council in 1998 after years of AIDS related service work as executive director of the Whitman-Walker Clinic, became the subject of criticism for ethics related issues after the Council voted to reprimand him in 2014 for allegedly pushing for a developer to win a city lottery contract. Graham denied he did anything illegal and said his aim was to bring development to Ward 1.

The fallout related to what critics, including the Washington Post editorial board, called an ethics “scandal” has been credited with leading to Graham’s defeat by Nadeau, who won the 2014 primary by a margin of 59 percent to 41 percent for Graham.

Harris, a Ward 1 ANC commissioner representing the 14th and U Street, N.W. area, also pledged to be a strong LGBTQ ally, saying she is running for the Council seat, among other things, “to help uplift those who have been forgotten.”

Ashley Smith, president of D.C.’s Capital Pride Alliance who served as moderator of both the Ward 1 and Ward 5 forums, asked the candidates a series of questions on topics both LGBTQ specific and political in nature, including whether the candidates support expanding the size of the D.C. Council and how they would address income disparity among all city residents.

The LGBTQ related topics included how the city should address problems faced by LGBTQ seniors, which city agencies can best partner with LGBTQ service organizations, how best to address growing instances of violence faced by transgender women of color, whether the city’s public school system should remain under the full control of the mayor, and how best to address a growing problem of homeless LGBTQ youth.

Each of the candidates participating in the forums for both Ward 1 and 5 responded to the questions by expressing strong support for the LGBTQ community and outlining plans to address problems faced by LGBTQ people.

During his closing statement in the Ward 5 forum, Orange, who said the chairman of his own campaign is gay, became the only candidate at the forum to criticize a fellow candidate when he implied that Parker failed to adequately address problems faced by LGBTQ youth during his years on the D.C. State Board of Education.

“I heard Mr. Parker say I’m openly gay and I’m espousing to help,” Orange said. “But he’s been an elected official for almost four years and all the things we’ve talked about tonight, he could have helped those young kids,” said Orange. “But so just because becoming openly gay a couple of months ago seems to be a matter of convenience,” Orange said in referring to Parker’s public announcement earlier this year that he’s gay.

Parker, who along with Czapary, has been endorsed by the LGBTQ Victory Fund, the national group that provides financial support for out LGBTQ candidates for public office, did not respond to Orange by name when he delivered his own closing remarks. But he may have been referring to Orange when he said, “And it’s worth noting that violence comes in many forms, and we’ve seen that here tonight.”

Added Parker, “What is at stake in this race is how we’re going to move forward as a ward and as a community. And it’s not just about vision, although I’ve provided that,” he said. “It’s not just about community connection, and I have that. But it’s also about a Council member that’s going to lead us ethically and honorably at all times.”

Parker was likely referring to Orange’s decision to resign from his at-large seat on the D.C. Council in August 2016 in the midst of an ethics controversy, shortly after he lost his re-election bid in the Democratic primary to Robert White and just under five months before his term on the Council was to end in January 2017. The controversy surfaced over Orange’s decision to accept a job as president of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce while still a sitting member of the Council.

His Council colleagues expressed strong objections to his holding the two positions, saying it presented a conflict of interest.

A video recording of the Capital Stonewall Democrats Ward 1 and Ward 5 candidate forums can be accessed here.

A Washington Blade transcript of the opening statements of the candidates that participating in Capital Stonewall Democrats Wards 1 & 5 forums can be viewed below:

Ward 1 Candidates – Opening Statements

Salah Czapary

Thank you. Good evening and thank you for having me. My name is Salah Czapary and I’m a candidate to represent Ward 1 on the D.C. Council. I’m a proud gay man. And while D.C. is ranked as one of the most accepting states for general acceptance of our community, the work of advancing LGBTQ rights is not over. The rights we enjoy are fragile and must be reinforced. We’re seeing even this week with the draft opinion from the Supreme Court indicating a vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.

We all know someone who came to D.C. because their family rejected them, their community rejected them. We are seeing more and more assaults on LGBTQ rights across the nation. And it is imperative that D.C. remain a safe haven for the community. To do that we have to make intentional long term stable housing for LGBTQ youth and in particular trans youth that is connected with case management and mental health services. We know that LGBTQ youth are much more likely to become unhoused and in need of needing those services.

The increasing use of PrEP has helped lower the HIV infection rate in our city. But knowledge about PrEP and access to medication remains uneven. Too many people do not know that PrEP is effective or even that it exists. Moreover, many lack the means to afford monthly prescriptions. Black LGBTQ+ individuals are also disproportionately infected with HIV and less likely to have access to PrEP and adequate healthcare. When elected, I will work to bridge the gap and ensure all of our LGBTQ+ populations have access to preventative medication. I’ll fight to raise awareness about HIV prevention and ensure affordable access to lifesaving medications.

As we work to reduce infections, we must also address the long-term effects of HIV. Many LGBTQ people infected during the 1980s and 1990s AIDS crisis live with debilitating illness. And I will ensure that we invest in medical and mental health care for all surviving with HIV.
Finally, LGBTQ+ seniors helped build the community we now enjoy. And yes, there is still more work to do. But we have to ensure that D.C. is senior friendly and provides programming and support to a population that worked so hard to make our city uniquely D.C. Thank you.

Brianne Nadeau

Thank you so much. I am Brianne Nadeau. I am the Ward 1 Council member. And I’m so happy to be here with you tonight. When I first became a Council member in 2014, I knew that I was taking over a very special role in the community. Not only because I was succeeding an openly gay Council member but also because of the depth and breadth of the involvement of our LGBTQ community in Ward 1.

Not limited to the location of the D.C. Center or so many nonprofits here in the ward like Us Helping Us to serve our LGBTQ community. I take that responsibility very seriously. And as a result, since day one walking in the door I knew that I could be an ally and work on the issues our LGBTQ community faces. Whether that is the deep work that I have done with our youth, especially our youth experiencing homelessness, the work I have done to help expand healthcare options, or the workforce development program.

Those have all been hand and hand with leaders who have come to me and said this is the path that we want to chart. Will you be there with us? I’m really proud of that work. As Council member, I’ve also kept my promises to prioritize affordable housing, education, public safety, and constituent services. There are more than 1,200 units of affordable housing in the pipeline here in the ward. Improving our schools. Ensuring that we have millions of dollars each year in all modes of public safety from police on to the highest and best prevention programs that do exist in this country.

And our team here in Ward 1 has [inaudible] more than 8,000 constituent services cases since I took office nearly eight years ago. I’m incredibly proud of this work. I’m not sure if the time is up. So, I’m just going to stop and not go accidentally over. I know we’re having trouble with the timer here. But I look forward to delving more into these issues as we go.

Sabel Harris

Thank you so much for having me, Capital Stonewall Dems. I’m Sabel Harris. I’m a community builder, organizer and advocate. And I’m currently serving as ANC for the 14th and U area. I’m grateful to be here tonight because a close family member of mine whose privacy I want to respect came out to our family. They were met with denial with the reality of their life, that it was just a phase, and it would pass. I know what that is like and what it’s like to be overlooked, cast aside and discounted.

And I think a lot of us in this room know that too. I’m running for Ward 1 Council member to help uplift those who would have been forgotten. We don’t just need a Council member to write checks or the big policies. We need a Council member who will show up in times of joy and in times of crisis. That is my promise to you. As Council member, I will be there to celebrate, to mourn, and to be the person you can call when you need help. I will be the person who not only adds the right policy but has the right follow through. My platform consists of schools, sustainability service and safety. And I’m looking forward to tonight’s discussion on how we can create a community that works for us all. Thank you.

Ward 5 Candidates – Opening Statements

Faith Gibson Hubbard

Good evening. My name is Faith Gibson Hubbard. And I’m really thrilled to be here with you this evening. I am running to be the next Ward 5 Council member because I believe in the power of community. Community and creating a visible belonging have been a big factor for me in all of my work and throughout my life. And we know that is something extremely important for the quality of life in our city and particularly right here in our ward.

I’ve been so fortunate in the course of my life that I’ve been able to learn from so many of my colleagues, friends and loved ones who are part of the LGBTQ community and to share about the daily issues and discrimination and offer great beauty and opportunity that there is in the community. And I’m thankful for that opportunity and for the love that I have received.

The breadth of challenges that we face as a city requires a Council member who has demonstrated a commitment to thoughtful and consistent and collaborative and representative leadership, and someone who is skilled and experienced in being able to solve problems. And I would submit to you that I am that person. You may not have heard my name over the last twelve years because I’ve been busy doing the work behind the scenes building relationships and advocating for each and every one in our communities.

And while I have had great opportunities to work both inside and outside of government, I was so thankful for the last two work opportunities that I had that had me cross paths with Sheila Alexander Reid. I served as executive director, the first executive director of [inaudible] D.C. and the director of the Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs while working closely with the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs and had an opportunity to learn so much.

So, we need someone who is concerned about creating a community and belonging and making sure we are able to see the reflections of ourselves and someone who is going to work hard. I am that person, who is looking to build communities in the beautiful city that we all deserve so that my children and all of us can grow up in a city where we all feel a wonderful sense of belonging. So, I look forward to the opportunity to talk more with you this evening.

Vincent Orange

Good evening, Capital Stonewall Democrats. My name is Vincent Orange. I’m an attorney and certified public accountant, a former two-term Ward 5 Council member, a two-term at-large Council member and also served as a Democratic National Committeeman in the Obama administration. And I’ve had the opportunity to be endorsed by the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club on a couple of occasions. Having worked with the amazing Jim Graham, together we established on a permanent basis the Office of LGBTQ. I also championed the legislation that enacted legislation to prevent discrimination against transgender individuals in the workplace.

I had the honor to actually conduct a same-sex marriage in the Wilson Building in 2015 for two nurses, Bradley Jason [inaudible] and Sam [inaudible]. Also, as a Democratic National Committeeman supported same-sex marriage. And while with Pepco, early in my career, I was able to get benefits for domestic partnerships. I was very pleased to have represented Ward 5 in the past in 1999 and 2007 where we jump started economic development for the city, school modernization and recreation centers renovation.

I am really honored to be with you this evening. Folks can get more information on my campaign on OrangeWard5.com. And I ask for your vote and support. I’m number seven on the ballot. Running for Ward 5 with number seven on the ballot. And I’d love to have your vote and support. Thank you so much for having me.

Zachary Parker

Good evening, everyone. I am Zachary Parker. I am the current Ward 5 representative to the State Board of Education. In fact, I’m just coming from a State Board meeting. I’m also the past president of the State Board and currently stand as the highest elected openly gay official in the District of Columbia, which I’m really proud of.

I come to this space because Ward 5 is gearing up for new leadership and we need a Ward 5 Council member that’s going to advance the issues that matter most to all Ward 5 residents – public safety and housing, that’s going to lead our community ethically and honorably. But that’s also going to give voice to communities that have long been underserved and underrepresented.

Despite D.C. being a city with the highest count of LGBTQ individuals per capita than any other city, we currently don’t have representation on the Council. And I am hoping that my candidacy this cycle changes that. Because there is much more that we need to do to house especially our youth that are constantly needing support in terms of housing but that are also struggling within our schools.

My vision is pretty simple. It is to build healthy communities for all Ward 5 neighbors so that all our basic needs are met. And that is not a simple or empty slogan. But it is around how can we co-create a vision around what every neighbor, every community deserves in Ward 5 regardless of their zip code. And work via the Council to make sure we funnel resources and supports to those communities. I’m proud to come here endorsed by a number of organizations, including the Victory Fund. And again, I’m looking forward to a spirited and thoughtful discussion that centers the needs of our LGBTQ community. And I just want to again thank you for hosting the discussion tonight.

Gordon Fletcher

Thank you so much for having me. And I just want to say thank you to the Capital Stonewall Democratic association for having me here. My name is Gordon Fletcher. And I’m running to be the first immigrant to become a Council member. So, while I’m not a member of the LGBTQ community, I am a member of a marginalized community. And I want to make sure I represent all individuals within Ward 5.

I come to you as a three-term ANC commissioner in the North Michigan Park community where I’ve lived in D.C. for over twenty years, but within Ward 5 for a little over ten. My wife Brittany is a therapist, and she served the community as well. I’ve worked with every level of government, from federal to congressional to local. So, I understand how to deal with legislation and deal with policy. I also deal with budgets. I’m also an educator. I teach at American University. I teach criminal justice and public policy.

As a commissioner, I’m proud to say I helped stop the opening of a liquor store. And just overall within Ward 5, my key issue as the next Ward 5 Council member is safety. And we also have to make sure we’re protecting all communities, marginalized communities, communities that recognize and identify themselves as members of the LGBTQ community. I understand that within that community there is unnecessary undue discrimination, harassment, and violence. The community has played such an integral role in the District of Columbia from socioeconomic and cultural development.

And we have to make sure we are advancing every possible measure for all communities, including the LGBTQ community. I understand that some of the major issues are centered around housing, access to living wages, and employment. And those are the issues I want to advocate for as the next Ward 5 Council member. And I look forward to a great discussion this evening. And I’m just glad to be here.

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D.C. house with rainbow Pride flag set on fire

Investigators seeking help from public in search for suspect

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A Pride flag remained displayed at the house in Shaw this past Sunday, one week after the fire in the rear of the house which fire officials have listed as arson. (Washington Blade photos by Lou Chibbaro Jr.)

The D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department has classified as arson a June 19 fire at a two-story row house on the 1800 block of 8th Street, N.W. in the city’s Shaw neighborhood that had an LGBTQ rainbow Pride flag prominently displayed on the front of the house.

A Fire & EMS Department spokesperson said the fire was ignited in a detached wooden garage in the rear of the house accessible only through an alley, and fire investigators have yet to identify a suspect or a motive for what evidence shows was an intentionally set fire.

Although the front of the brick rowhouse where the Pride flag was displayed was not damaged, the fire in the garage spread to the rear of the house, destroying a wooden outdoor deck, and caused extensive damage to the kitchen, bathroom, and second floor bedroom. Fire investigators have sealed the house, requiring its three occupants to find a temporary residence as the investigation continues.

One of the three occupants of the house, who was the only one at home when the fire started at about 2 a.m., escaped without injury, according to sources who know the occupants.

“The Pride flag on the front of the house was present at the time of the fire,” Jennifer Donelan, director of communications for the Fire & EMS Department, told the Washington Blade. “We do not have any information, at this time, that suggests the arson was related to the presence of the flag, however we are still working on the case,” she said.

“We are aggressively working to identify a suspect and a motive,” Donelan said. “Until such time, we won’t be able to make a determination as to whether or not this was a hate crime.”

She said the Fire & EMS Department is seeking help from the public in its effort to identify one or more suspects responsible for the fire. Anyone with information that could be helpful to the investigation is asked to call fire investigators at 202-673-2776.

The fire at the D.C. house with the Pride flag took place less than a week after Baltimore police said a house in that city’s Waverly neighborhood on which “Pride décor” was displayed was set on fire on June 15, causing extensive damage to the house and nearby houses.

Baltimore police and fire department officials said a Pride flag on a house across the street from the house set on fire was also ablaze when firefighters arrived on the scene. Two men were hospitalized in critical condition and a woman was listed in serious condition because of the fire ignited in the house.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott released a statement saying fire department officials had yet to determine a motive for the fire.

“At this point, we cannot confirm that this was a hate crime,” Scott said. “However, my agencies will bring every appropriate resource to bear to get to the bottom of this tragic event,” he said. “I continue to stand in solidarity with our LGBTQ+ community.”

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D.C. officials vow to fight any GOP effort to ban abortion in nation’s capital

Without statehood, District vulnerable to congressional interference

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D.C. Congressional Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton vowed to fight to protect abortion access in the city. (Blade file photo by Drew Brown)

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, D.C. Congressional Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, and six members of the D.C. Council said they were united in fighting an attempt by Congress to ban abortions in the nation’s capital following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

At a press conference on the day the Supreme Court handed down its controversial decision, the D.C. officials pointed out that unlike any of the states, D.C. is vulnerable to the authority Congress has over the city under its limited Home Rule Charter, including the authority by Congress to pass a law to ban abortions in the city.

The press conference was held at the headquarters in Northeast D.C. of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., whose leaders said they would continue to provide abortion services in the District at the present time.

At this time, “Nothing has changed in Washington, D.C.,” Bowser said at the press conference. “Abortion remains legal, and women and girls we know, however, are worried,” the mayor said. “We are worried because we know we are vulnerable as a jurisdiction because of our lack of statehood.”

Norton told news media representatives and others attending the press conference that she expects at least some congressional Republicans to introduce legislation to ban abortions in D.C. now that the Supreme Court has given them the authority to do that.

“We are subservient still to the House and Senate,” she said. “I’m calling on the Congress to immediately codify the right to an abortion in federal law,” Norton said. “That is the very least the District needs to save this city from what will surely be an attempt by Republicans in Congress to move first on the District of Columbia to make sure that abortions are not available for women in our city.”

Norton added, “We always have more work cut out for us than other jurisdictions. But I assure you I am up to the task. There is a lot to fight for here, and I’m ready for that fight.”

Norton and Bowser also pointed out that Congress over a decade ago added a permanent provision to D.C.’s annual budget that prohibits the city from using any of its funds to pay for abortions either directly or through the funding of private organizations like Planned Parenthood that provide abortion related services.

With the prospect that Republicans might regain control of the House or Senate or both in the November congressional elections, D.C. officials said they were especially concerned about an attempt to ban or greatly restrict abortions in the city.

D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson said he was hopeful that such an attempt would be blocked by a Democratic-led filibuster in the Senate as well as by a presidential veto if President Biden or another Democrat continues to occupy the White House.

Bowser, Mendelson, and D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) also pointed out that the legal reasoning used by the justices to overturn Roe v. Wade, especially the rationale given by Justice Clarence Thomas, could be used in future cases to overturn previous court rulings establishing a constitutional right to same-sex marriage and the right to intimate sexual acts between same-sex couples.

“We are about to enter into decades of darkness with this court that we have,” Cheh said at the press conference. “And don’t be fooled. We’re told, OK, it’s just abortion,” she said. “Don’t you believe it. The very reasoning of the case – and I spend a lot of time teaching constitutional law – means that many other liberties will be in jeopardy.”

LGBTQ rights advocates have pointed to the concurring opinion handed down by Justice Thomas on the day the court overturned Roe v. Wade that specifically calls on the high court to “reconsider” the 2003 ruling of Lawrence v. Texas, which overturned state laws banning sodomy between consenting adults, both gay and straight. Thomas’s concurring opinion also called for reconsidering the high court’s 2015 Obergefell ruling, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

Others speaking at the June 24 press conference included Laura Meyers, president of Planned Parenthood of the D.C. area, and D.C. Council members Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large), Christina Henderson (I-At-Large), and Brooke Pinto (D-Ward 2). 

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One of two gay candidates wins primary for D.C. Council

Bowser triumphs in Democratic race for third term as mayor

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Gay D.C. Board of Education member Zachary Parker won the Democratic primary for the Ward 5 Council seat.

Gay D.C. Board of Education member Zachary Parker emerged as the clear winner in a seven-candidate race for the Ward 5 D.C. Council seat in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, placing him in a strong position to win the November general election and become the first openly gay member of the Council since 2015.

With nearly all of the votes counted shortly before midnight, Parker had 41.65 percent of the vote, with his closest rival, Faith Gibson Hubbard, receiving 23.41 percent. Former at-large and Ward 5 Councilmember Vincent Orange had 16.66 percent of the vote in his unsuccessful bid to return to the Council.

While Parker and his supporters celebrated his primary victory, gay former D.C. police officer Salah Czapary lost his bid for the Ward 1 D.C. Council seat to incumbent Councilmember Brianne Nadeau by a margin of 47.39 percent to 32.09 percent. A third candidate in the Ward 1 race, Sabel Harris, had 20.25 percent of the vote.

Parker had an advantage over Czapary, according to political observers, because he was running for an open seat after incumbent Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie ran unsuccessfully for Attorney General rather than re-election to the Council. Incumbents, such as Nadeau in Ward 1, are considered to have a better chance of winning re-election.

But some political observers, based on reports of a private poll showing Czapary running close if not slightly ahead of Nadeau, thought Czapary had a good shot at unseating Nadeau. That prompted what Czapary’s supporters said was an onslaught of negative campaign attacks against Czapary. The attacks were based in part on a Washington City Paper story disclosing his campaign chairperson was a registered Republican and was associated with a conservative think tank that supports Donald Trump.

Czapary said he immediately secured the resignation of his campaign chair, saying he did not know he was a registered Republican. He also pointed out that as a gay Arab American he was a longtime Democratic Party supporter even though, as Nadeau supporters pointed out, he was an independent and did not become a registered Democrat until earlier this year.

The political attacks against Czapary continued, with large signs accusing him of having “Republican campaign leadership” being posted on light poles in Ward 1 as well as outside the nearby Number 9 gay bar in Ward 2, which Ward 1 residents are known to patronize.

“I’m sure negative campaigning has an effect,” Czapary told the Washington Blade at his election night gathering at the Duplex Diner in Adams Morgan, which drew more than 100 supporters.

“But we made a very essential effort to focus on the issues that voters want to talk about,” he said. “And you know, the election is over, and bygones are bygones. And I look forward to working with Councilmember Nadeau on some of the issues that resonated with voters that voted for me.”

With Nadeau and all the other candidates running in the June 21 Democratic primary – including Mayor Muriel Bowser and her three Democratic rivals — expressing support for LGBTQ issues or having long records of support — LGBTQ voters are believed to have based their vote on other issues such as public safety and affordable housing among other issues.

As of just before midnight on election day, Bowser had 49.86 percent of the vote, with rival mayoral candidates D.C. Councilmember Robert White (D-At-Large) receiving 38.51 percent and Councilmember Trayon White (D-Ward 8) receiving 9.8 percent. The fourth candidate in the mayoral race, James Butler, had 1.47 percent of the vote. The Associated Press earlier in the evening projected Bowser as the winner.

D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large) had 54.82 percent of the vote compared to challenger Erin Palmer, who had 44.72 percent. In the four-candidate At-Large D.C. Council race, incumbent Anita Bonds was ahead with 38.33 percent of the vote, with rival Democrats Lisa Gore with 26.96 percent, Nate Fleming 26.45 percent, and Dexter Williams with 7.54 percent.

In the hotly contested Ward 3 D.C. Council race, in which nine candidates were on the ballot, Matthew Frumin was ahead with 38 percent of the vote. Eric Goulet was in second place with 31.01 percent. The remaining candidates, including three who dropped out and threw their support to Frumin after it was too late to have their names removed from the ballot, received less than 7 percent of the vote.

D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) was the clear winner in her bid for re-election, with 86.55 percent of the vote. Her two opponents in the primary, Wendy Hamilton and Kelly Mikel Williams received 6.15 percent and 6.36 percent, respectively.

In the race for D.C. Attorney General, attorney Brian Schwalb was ahead with 45.21 percent of the vote, with rival attorneys Bruce Spiva and Ryan Jones receiving 35.65 percent and 18.32 percent of the vote, respectively.

In the race for U.S. Representative, which is known as D.C.’s shadow representative to the U.S. House of Representatives, with no voting powers, incumbent Oye Owolewa was trailing challenger Linda Gray by a vote of 49.78 percent to 48.64 percent. Owolewa was the only Democratic incumbent on the primary ballot who was not substantially ahead of their opponent.

In a development that surprised some observers, the Capital Stonewall Democrats, the city’s largest local LGBTQ political group, endorsed Robert White over Bowser and backed challenger Erin Palmer over Council Chair Phil Mendelson. The group also endorsed Nadeau over gay challenger Czapary. In the Ward 5 race, Capital Stonewall Democrats endorsed Parker.

With the overwhelming majority of the city’s voters being registered Democrats, winners in the D.C. Democratic primary almost always win in the November general election. In the D.C. Republican primary on Tuesday, GOP candidates ran unopposed for the office of congressional delegate, mayor, Council chair, at-large Council member, and Council member for Wards 3 and 5.

Most political observers say that with Republicans having little or no chance of winning, Democrats running against each other in the primaries tend to divide along the lines of moderate Democrat versus progressive-left Democrat.

In Tuesday’s primary, Bowser, Mendelson, Bonds, and Czapary were considered representatives of the party’s moderates. Their opponents, including Ward 1 incumbent Nadeau, are considered representatives of the party’s progressive-left faction. Parker is also considered part of the progressive-left faction.

Parker won election in 2018 as the Ward 5 representative on the D.C. Board of Education. His fellow board members last year elected him as president of the board. He drew media attention earlier this year when he came out publicly as gay in a video message he posted on his Twitter page.

“I am very proud and confident in who I am and who I’ve been,” he said in his video message. “Many already know – my family, my friends, many community leaders,” he continued. “But I recognize that many may not know, and this may come as a surprise. So, I thought it was important for me to share my full self,” he said.

Lesbian activists Sheila Alexander-Reid and Courtney Snowden, who each held high-level positions in the Bowser administration in the recent past, were among the large number of LGBTQ activists who turned out for Bowser’s election night party at the Franklin Hall restaurant and nightclub. Alexander-Reid served as director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs and Snowden served as Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity, the highest-level position an LGBTQ person has held in the D.C. mayor’s office.

Both told the Washington Blade they believe Bowser will continue her commitment to addressing the needs and concerns of all factions of the LGBTQ community, including those who did not vote for her on Tuesday.

“I think we need to come together and work with her,” said Alexander-Reid in referring to LGBTQ voters who supported Robert White. “And if they have some issues and concerns, bring them to her attention,” she said. “I can tell you firsthand when you bring issues to her attention, she takes care of it, and she addresses it.”

Snowden said the diversity reflected in the several hundred people attending the mayor’s election night event symbolized her ability to bring people together to solve problems.

“I am so happy to see the mayor get exactly what she deserves, four more years to make good on her promises she made to our city, to the LGBTQ community, for the District’s long-time residents, to African Americans, and to everyone,” Snowden said. “She is doing incredible work and the city has resoundingly said that she gets to do this for four more years to bring prosperity for all in every single ward of our city.”

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