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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
September 30, 2005

Gay and lesbian candidates face primaries Tuesday

Cleveland--The fates of two open lesbian and gay candidates in Northeast Ohio cities are in hands of voters in primary elections on October 4.

Joe Santiago is making his second bid to unseat Nelson Cintron in Cleveland City Council�s Ward 14, while Nickie Antonio is running for an at-large council seat in the near west suburb of Lakewood.

Both candidates have been endorsed by the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, a national organization which works to get LGBT elected to public office across the country as well as providing training to queer candidates.

Santiago unsuccessfully ran against Cintron four years ago, when he finished third in the four-person primary race in the predominantly Democratic district.

This year, Santiago and Cintron have only one other challenger, newcomer Art Baeklar.

Santiago said that he never really stopped campaigning after the 2001 election, appearing at public events and getting his name out before the voters.

He argues that, under Cintron�s stewardship, Ward 14, which includes the trendy Tremont area, has seen increasing crime, problems with absentee landlords and shortages of affordable housing.

Santiago is supported by some members of council, including pro-gay Ward 13 councilman Joseph Cimperman.

He is also a member of the Cleveland Lesbian-Gay Center�s board.

Antonio is the third openly gay Lakewood City Council candidate, after John Farina, who unsuccessfully ran twice, and Jeremy Elliott, who was defeated in his bid to unseat city council president Robert M. Seelie in the last election.

However, she will be the first to run for an at-large seat since the city passed nonpartisan elections.

Incumbents Michael Dever and Edwards FitzGerald are running again, while Dennis Dunn is not.

Antonio is running on a �respectful agenda� in Lakewood, which is known to have a large LGBT population and has a national reputation for being a gay-friendly place but has seen a number of showdowns between queer residents and vociferously anti-gay denizens.

Santiago and Antonio are joined by two other candidates running for city councils in Ohio, Dave Schulz of Toledo and Mary Jo Hudson of Columbus.


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