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Capital Pride Festival wows with surprise appearances

Harris speaks, Symone struts as celebrations return

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Symone performs at the 2022 Capital Pride Festival. Sunday’s Capital Pride Festival brought tens of thousands to Pennsylvania Avenue and it wasn’t 100 degrees for a change. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Amid a roster of weekend Pride festivities in the nation’s capital that ended with a much-anticipated performance from pop band DNCE, Vice President Kamala Harris marched onto the Capital Pride Festival stage Sunday afternoon — as the crowd roared in surprise — to stress the importance of queer rights and rebuke white supremacy.

“No one should fear going to a nightclub for fear that a terrorist might try to take them down,” she said in reference to the Pulse nightclub shooting of 2016 in Orlando, Fla. “No one should fear going to a Pride celebration because of the white supremacists,” she added.

Harris also referenced recent legislation in southern states like Texas and Florida that inhibits children’s self-expression.

“Our children in Texas and Florida shouldn’t fear who they are,” she said.

Harris was joined on stage by second gentleman Douglas Emhoff and RuPaul’s Drag Race season 13 winner Symone.

The Washington Blade scored an exclusive interview with Symone after the vice president’s remarks.

Symone, who stood about six feet tall in a pair of beige-colored stilettos and a bejeweled turquoise leotard that she would later exchange for a blood orange-and-fuschia layered frill mini-dress, mentioned that Capital Pride was her first Pride event of the season.

“It feels great to be back amongst family,” she said. “It feels good to see all the love and excitement.”

Drawing on about a year since her win on “Drag Race,” the drag queen — affectionately known by her fans as the “Ebony Enchantress” — said that her drag has evolved into the special moments outside of her performances where she can “take care of people [around her].”

“I can finally give back to my mom,” she said.

With regards to her artistic approach to the art form, Symone emphasized that drag is a form of self-expression that allows her to be the most authentic part of herself and to say what she wants to say.

In her season, she celebrated Black culture and Black beauty by draping her head with sculptural braided Black hairstyles and giving nods to streetstyle, including through an outfit that included a meters-long durag.

In one of her season’s runway categories, she strutted in a white gown and fascinator with the phrase, “Say their names” emblazoned on the back. This was in protest of police brutality.

When looking to the future of her profession, Symone is gleeful because she says that more people will become comfortable with drag because it exists to “give joy, laughter, and love.”

“I think what people have left out is that [drag] is art at the end of the day,” she said. “It has always been this art form to play with.”

Her statement echoed one that Harris made earlier: “No one should fear who they love.”

After the interview, Symone returned to Capital Pride’s stage in a waist-length curly black wig to dance to Diana Ross’s “I’m Coming Out” and Beyonce’s “Apeshit,” all while exposing her slender, toned, and glossed legs that brought gasps from some audience members.

Symone’s performance and Harris’s speech were part of the last leg of events that ended a festival that saw hundreds of LGBTQ-friendly organizations, bars and clubs, and food vendors staff booths on Pennsylvania Avenue.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was in attendance for the first time and gave out T-shirts that read “Black Pride” and encouraged passersby to contact their senators to pass the Equality Act — legislation that prohibits discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation. The Equality Act was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2021 and has been stalled in the U.S. Senate since.

“We want to make sure that our [leaders] are doing what we need them to do,” said Annalise Setorie, director of partnerships at the NAACP. Setorie is also chair of the LGBTQ taskforce.

“[The NAACP] fights for all the rights of Black people so we are here to support and uplift the Black queer community,” she added. 

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District of Columbia

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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District of Columbia

D.C. police hiring program welcomes LGBTQ recruits

Mayor, MPD chief announce $20K bonus in recruitment effort

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DC Police Chief Robert Contee speaks at press conference in which he and Mayor Muriel Bowser announce a $20,000 police hiring recruitment bonus. (Washington Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.)

The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department’s LGBT Liaison Unit and the department’s other community liaison units are playing a “huge part” in a stepped-up officer recruitment program and members of the LGBTQ community are encouraged to consider applying to become a D.C. police officer, Police Chief Robert Contee told the Washington Blade.

“We welcome everybody. The LGBTQ community – we welcome everybody,” Contee told the Blade after he and Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a new $20,000 hiring bonus to make MPD more competitive in recruiting new officers during a press conference on Friday, June 17, held just outside Stanton Park on Capitol Hill.

“And this is just a great place to work,” the chief told the Blade. “You can follow us on our Instagram, and you can see how much we embrace the LGBTQ community,” he said. “So, join MPD if you’re interested in a career in law enforcement.”

Bowser said the new $20,000 hiring bonus is part of her Fiscal Year 2023 police budget, which funds an additional 347 new officers and takes effect at the start of the fiscal year on Oct. 1, 2022.

“We know how critical it is to have a fully staffed and resourced MPD, and that requires us to hire strong talent and to retain experienced officers,” Bowser said at the news conference. “These hiring bonuses will help MPD recruit and hire more officers to keep our city safe,” she said.

A statement released by the mayor’s office says the bonus would be paid in two installments, with $10,000 paid at the time a new officer is hired and the remaining $10,000 paid upon the officer’s successful completion of the police academy training program.

“The starting salary at MPD is currently $60,199, which means that with the new bonus, first-year officers will be eligible to earn more than $80,000,” the statement says. It says full details on how to apply to become a D.C. police officer can be accessed at joinmpd.dc.gov.

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District of Columbia

LGBTQ voters to choose among friends in D.C. elections

Out gay candidates considered viable in Ward 1, 5 Council races

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Incumbent Council member Brianne Nadeau faces a challenge from gay candidate Salah Czapary in the June 21 primary. (Blade photos by Michael Key)

In what LGBTQ activists consider a highly positive development, all serious candidates running for mayor, D.C. Council, Attorney General, and the city’s congressional delegate seat and “shadow” U.S. House seat in the city’s June 21 Democratic primary have either expressed strong support for LGBTQ issues or have long records of support on those issues.

Activists following the election say they expect LGBTQ voters — like all D.C. voters — to decide who to vote for based on a number of other issues, including public safety, affordable housing, and whether the city’s public schools should remain under mayoral control or return to the previous system of an independent school board, among other issues.

“We are fortunate to live in a city where all candidates support the LGBTQ community, so it is other issues our community is focused on,” said gay Democratic activist Peter Rosenstein, who is supporting Mayor Muriel Bowser’s re-election bid for a third term in office.

Other LGBTQ activists, including former Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance President Rick Rosendall, are backing D.C. Council member Robert White (D-At-Large) for mayor. Like Bowser, Robert White has a long record of support on LGBTQ issues.

Ward 8 Council member Trayon White (D-Ward 8) and community activist and former Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner James Butler are also running for mayor in the Democratic primary. Trayon White has supported LGBTQ issues on the Council and Butler has expressed support for those issues.

The other races on the primary ballot on June 21 include D.C. Council Chair; At-Large D.C. Council member, Council members for Wards 1, 3, 5, and 6; D.C. Attorney General; D.C. Congressional Delegate; and U.S. Representative, also known as the city’s “shadow” House member with no voting powers in Congress.

In an action that surprised some in the LGBTQ community, the Capital Stonewall Democrats, the city’s largest LGBTQ political group, has endorsed Robert White over Bowser in the mayor’s race and Democratic challenger Erin Palmer over incumbent longtime LGBTQ rights supporter Phil Mendelson for the D.C. Council Chair position.

Capital Stonewall Democrats has also endorsed incumbent Ward 1 Council member Brianne Nadeau over her out gay challenger, former D.C. police officer Salah Czapary, who has been endorsed by the Washington Post and by former D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams.

The LGBTQ Democratic group has endorsed the second out gay D.C. Council candidate running this year, D.C. Board of Education President Zachary Parker, who is among seven candidates competing for the open Ward 5 D.C. Council seat. Incumbent Ward 5 Council member Kenyan McDuffie is not running for re-election.

Parker has been endorsed by D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, the Washington Teacher’s Union, and the Sierra Club among other local political groups. Both Czapary and Parker were endorsed by the LGBTQ Victory Fund, the national group that raises money to help elect LGBTQ candidates for public office.

The other candidates competing with Parker for the Ward 5 Council seat include former At-Large and Ward 5 Council member Vincent Orange and community activists Faith Gibson Hubbard, Gary Johnson, Art Lloyd, Gordon Fletcher, and Kathy Henderson.

In other races, Capital Stonewall Democrats voted to endorse D.C. Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), who is running unopposed in the primary; D.C. Congressional Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who is favored to win re-election against two lesser-known challengers; and D.C. shadow U.S. Rep. Oye Owolewa, who’s also favored to win over a lesser-known opponent.

The LGBTQ group did not make an endorsement in the Ward 3 and At-Large D.C. Council races and in the D.C. Attorney General’s race because no candidate received a required 60 percent of the vote from group’s members under its longstanding rules for endorsements.

Eight candidates are running for the Ward 3 Council seat for which incumbent Council member Mary Cheh is not seeking re-election. A ninth candidate, Tricia Duncan, dropped out of the race earlier this week and endorsed candidate Matthew Frumin. Some political observers say Frumin and former city budget director Eric Goulet are the two frontrunners in the race. The other candidates include Henry Cohen, Ben Bergman, Beau Finley, Monte Monash, Deirdre Brown, and Phil Thomas. All have expressed strong support for LGBTQ equality.

Also expressing support for the LGBTQ community are the three candidates running for Attorney General — Brian Schwalb, Ryan Jones, and Bruce Spiva. Each is a practicing attorney at separate D.C. law firms.

In the At-Large Council race, three candidates are challenging incumbent and longtime LGBTQ rights supporter Anita Bonds – Lisa Gore, Nate Fleming, and Dexter Williams, each of whom also expressed support for the LGBTQ community.

In the D.C. Congressional Delegate race challenger Rev. Wendy Hamilton served as minister for the LGBTQ supportive Metropolitan Community Church in suburban Maryland and describes herself as a strong LGBTQ ally. The second challenger to incumbent Eleanor Holmes Norton is community activist Kelly Mikel Williams, who also expressed support for the LGBTQ community.

Jatarious Frazier, the Capital Stonewall Democrats president, said Norton’s years of acting as a champion for LGBTQ rights on Capitol Hill made her an easy choice for the group’s endorsement for re-election.

Political observers have said the current “dividing line” between the city’s Democratic candidates who run against each other in the primaries historically has been whether they position themselves as moderates or left-leaning progressives. Democratic voters, including LGBTQ voters, also fall into those two ideological camps, according to observers.

But some political observers say the Ward 1 and Ward 5 D.C. Council races, where openly gay candidates are running, have raised the question of whether LGBTQ voters should vote “gay” rather than follow their ideological leanings, to bring back LGBTQ representation on the Council for the first time in eight years.

The late gay D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) left the Council in January 2015 after losing his 2014 re-election bid to incumbent Ward 1 Council member Nadeau. Gay former D.C. Council member David Catania (I-At-Large) left office in 2015 after an unsuccessful run for mayor in 2014.

Supporters of Czapary and Parker have said a member of the LGBTQ community on the D.C. Council would offer important representation for the LGBTQ community that a straight ally cannot necessarily provide on issues such as homeless LGBTQ youth and persistent hate violence to which the LGBTQ community, especially transgender women, are faced with.

In addition to being endorsed by AG Racine, the Teacher’s Union, and the Sierra Club, Parker received the endorsement of Ward 4 D.C. Council member Janeese Lewis George, who’s considered one of the Council’s left-leaning progressives, as well as the endorsement of the left-leaning groups Democratic Socialists of America and the Working Families Party.

Parker told the Washington Post he doesn’t view his race for the Ward 5 Council seat as being one of moderate versus liberal left.

“You will see a range of people that span ideology [supporting me],” the Post quoted him as saying. “And that is what we need more of in our political system,” he told the Post.

Czapary, who states on his campaign website that he supports progressive values, says he holds positions on key issues as a moderate Democrat, including issues related to public safety. He has supported Bowser’s call for the Council to increase the police budget to restore funds the Council cut from the police budget two years ago. He points out that Nadeau was among the Council members that voted to cut the police budget.

Nadeau has said she has taken strong action in support of public safety policies, including violence interruption programs that Czapary also supports.

Czapary’s supporters, including the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which endorsed him, say he too would transcend ideology to work for solutions to the problems facing Ward 1 and the city. As the son of a Palestinian refugee and a Hungarian immigrant, he would become the first Arab American to serve on the D.C. Council, his supporters point out.

“D.C. boasts the highest percentage of LGBTQ+ individuals per capita of any large U.S. city,” Czapary told the Blade. “Our city’s policies must respond to the needs of these communities and support the most vulnerable within them,” he said.

Less than a week before the June 21 primary, it couldn’t be determined whether “progressive” LGBTQ voters in Ward 1 would back Czapary or whether “moderate” LGBTQ voters in Ward 5 would back Parker.

With many political observers saying both Parker and Czapary have a shot at winning, supporters of their opponents have stepped up their opposition campaigns against the two, with Czapary being singled out as a “closet” Republican, an allegation he strongly denies.

Nadeau has pointed out that he did not become a registered Democrat until he filed for his candidacy for the Ward 1 Council seat earlier this year. Czapary says he has been a Democratic leaning independent based on his and his parents’ adherence to the Bahai faith, which shuns political parties.

He told the Blade his parents were far more accepting of him when he came out as gay than when he came out to them as a Democrat. But he said they understood his political beliefs were fully aligned with the Democratic Party.

Nadeau has also cited a Washington City Paper report in May that Czapary earlier this year named as his honorary campaign chairperson the son of a Trump supporter who was associated with a right-wing group that supported Trump’s claim that the 2020 presidential election was rigged, and that Trump was the true winner.

Czapary told the Blade he immediately dismissed Will Pack as his campaign chair after learning that Pack played a brief role with the ultra-conservative Claremont Institute. He said he met Pack when Pack was a volunteer firefighter and volunteer police officer at the time Czapary worked as a special assistant to D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee.

“My team is very much rooted in the Democratic Party,” said Czapary. “My campaign manager is Steve Schwab who Speaker Pelosi has called an ‘incredible leader,’ who has run a dozen Democratic campaigns,” Czapary told the Blade. “My field director worked for Bernie Sanders and my committee leader worked on both the Obama and Clinton campaigns.”

Observers of the Ward 1 race say Czapary has a shot at winning but his campaign is facing the dilemma that a third candidate running for the Ward 1 seat, ANC Commissioner Sabel Harris, could take away just enough votes from Czapary to enable Nadeau to win with less than 50 percent of the vote, which is what happened when she won her re-election race in 2018.

Nadeau has said LGBTQ issues have been among her highest priorities since taking office in 2015. She told members of Capital Stonewall Democrats at an event for the group’s endorsed candidates last week that she would continue her role as a committed LGBTQ ally.  

The D.C. Board of Elections’ candidates list shows there are just six Republican candidates running in the city’s Republican primary, each of whom is running unopposed. There are no candidates running under the city’s two other political parties – the Statehood Green and Libertarian Party.

Following are the Republican Party candidates:
• DC Congressional Delegate – Nelson Rimensnyder
• DC Mayor – Stacia Hall
• DC Council Chair – Nate Derenge
• DC Council At-Large – Giuseppe Niosi
• DC Council Ward 3 – David Krucoff
• DC Council Ward 5 – Clarence Lee, Jr.
 
Rimensnyder, who has run for the congressional delegate seat in the past, has expressed support for LGBTQ rights. A spokesperson for Hall noted that Hall appeared as guest speaker at a recent meeting of D.C.’s LGBTQ Log Cabin Republicans group but did not provide information about Hall’s positions on specific LGBTQ issues.

Niosi and Krucoff and a small contingent of their supporters marched in the D.C. Capital Pride Parade on June 11. Lee couldn’t immediately be reached to determine his position on LGBTQ issues. Derenge, who ran as a GOP candidate for the Ward 8 D.C. Council seat in 2020, received a GLAA rating of -2 at that time.

Adam Savit, the D.C. Log Cabin Republicans president, said the group decided not to endorse any of the unopposed Republican candidates at this time. He said Log Cabin plans to hold a GOP candidate forum in the fall ahead of the November general election.

Longtime D.C. gay Democratic activist Earl Fowlkes, who serves as chair of the Democratic National Committee’s LGBTQ Caucus, predicts there will be a low voter turnout and far fewer votes cast in the June 21 primary because this year is an “off year,” non-presidential election.

“With all the other things going on – the high gasoline prices and people trying to survive with the inflation, I don’t know if there is a lot of interest in this election,” he said. “And the people I talk to are not really focusing on the election very much because there are other issues they’re dealing with.”

If the voter turnout is low, Fowlkes said, it nearly always gives an advantage to the incumbents, prompting him to predict Mayor Bower, Council Chair Mendelson, and At-Large Council member Bonds will win their respective races.

Mark Lee, coordinator of the D.C. Nightlife Council, a nonprofit trade association representing the city’s restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, including gay bars, said the operators of those establishments have not officially endorsed any candidates running in the June 21 primary. But Lee said many of them are individually backing candidates they feel understand the needs and concerns of their mostly small, neighborhood-based businesses.

“That’s why there is broad small business support across the District for the re-election of Mayor Muriel Bowser, D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson, and At-Large Council member Anita Bonds,” Lee said. He said many nightlife business operators are also supporting Eric Goulet for the Ward 3 Council seat, Faith Gibson Hubbard for Ward 5 Council, and Salah Czapary for the Ward 1 Council seat.

GLAA ratings trigger controversy  

The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA), one of the city’s oldest LGBTQ organizations, last month issued candidate ratings that some critics say favor candidates with left-leaning progressive views unrelated to LGBTQ issues.

GLAA released a statement disputing those claims, saying the issues on which it based its ratings, such as decriminalization of sex work, reallocating funds from the police budget for violence prevention programs, and increased funding for programs for the homeless, will favorably impact LGBTQ people who are experiencing problems that some candidates have not adequately addressed. LGBTQ activists disagree over the impact the GLAA ratings will have on LGBTQ voters.

In the mayoral race, GLAA gave Robert White a rating of +9 out of the highest possible rating of +10. The group gave Bowser a rating of +6 and mayoral candidate Butler a +3 rating. Mayoral contender Trayon White received a “0” rating for failing to return a GLAA candidate questionnaire that the group requires of all candidates it rates. Under its rules, candidates that do not return a completed questionnaire receive an automatic “0” rating.

The group issues its ratings on a scale of +10, the highest rating, to -10, the lowest possible rating. GLAA did not issue ratings for the Congressional Delegate or shadow House seats or for any of the Republican candidates.

Following are GLAA’s candidate ratings:

D.C. Mayor
Robert White — +9
Muriel Bowser — +6
James Butler — +3
Trayon White – 0
 
D.C. Council Chair
Erin Palmer — +8
Phil Mendelson — +6
 
D.C. Council At-Large
Lisa Gore – +8.5
Anita Bonds — +6
Nate Fleming – +5.5
Dexter Williams – +4.5
 
D.C. Council Ward 1
Brianne Nadeau – +9.5
Sabel Harris – +6
Salah Czapary – +4
 
D.C. Council Ward 3
Beau Finley – +7
Deirdre Brown – +6.5
Phil Thomas – +5
Ben Bergmann – +4.5
Tricia Duncan – +4
Matt Frumin – +4
Henry Cohen – 0
Eric Goulet – 0
Monte Monash – 0
 
DC Council – Ward 5
Faith Gibson Hubbard – +7.5
Zachary Parker – +6.5
Gordon Fletcher – 0
Gary To-To Johnson – 0
Kathy Henderson – 0
Art Lloyd – 0
Vincent Orange [No rating given on ethics grounds]
 
D.C. Council Ward 6
Charles Allen — +8.5
 
Attorney General
Bruce Spiva — +6.5
Brian Schwalb — +6
Ryan Jones — +2.5
 
A breakdown of GLAA’s rating scores for each of the candidates and the candidates’ responses to the GLAA questionnaire can be accessed at glaa.org.

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