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February 29, 2008

Ohio groups endorse in House and local races

 But no presidential candidates get the nod

Cleveland--While none of the state’s Democratic or Republican LGBT groups made any endorsements in the presidential primaries, a number of congressional and local candidates were chosen.

In the most contentious race the groups looked at for the March 4 primary, the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats had to choose between one of the LGBT community’s most reliable friends in the House of Representatives and one of its closest friends in Cleveland City Council.

In the end, the group gave its nod to 10th District incumbent Rep. Dennis Kucinich at its February 21 meeting.

Perceived as weak due to his White House bid, Kucinich has a well-funded opponent in Ward 13 councilor Joe Cimperman.

Three others also seek the seat but are considered less significant contenders: Barbara Anne Ferris, North Olmsted mayor Thomas O’Grady and gold star mother Rosemary Palmer.

All sought the LGBT group’s endorsement.

During a candidates’ presentation to Stonewall Cleveland a month earlier and again at the Cleveland City Club on February 14, Ferris accused Kucinich of missing the votes on the Defense of Marriage Act and the constitutional ban on marriage equality.

Neither claim is true. DOMA was passed in 1996, before Kucinich was elected to Congress, and he voted against the constitutional amendment.

Conversation with Ferris revealed that she was referring to a 2004 vote on a proposal to strip the federal courts’ jurisdiction over cases involving DOMA.

That matter did not come up when the endorsement was made.

Kucinich and Ferris spoke to the group prior to its deliberations. The other candidates did not.

Kucinich reminded the Stonewall Democrats of his perfect voting record on LGBT issues and his advocacy on behalf of equality.

“I brought the issue of marriage equality to two presidential campaigns,” Kucinich said. “No one else has done that.”

Among the Stonewall members, Cimperman backers cited his pro-LGBT record on city council, including the conversations he is having on domestic partner benefits for city employees, and their strong personal relationships with him.

Cimperman’s backers lobbied hard to get the endorsement for their candidate, which requires a vote of sixty percent of the membership.

After 40 minutes of debate, the group chose to endorse Kucinich.

The Cleveland Stonewall Democrats also endorsed Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Stuart Friedman for a seat on the Eighth District Ohio Court of Appeals.

Friedman and his opponent, Lakewood Municipal Court Judge Patrick Carroll, also addressed the group prior to the vote.

Summit County

The Stonewall Democrats of Summit County endorsed Judge William O’Neill for U.S. House of Representatives in the 14th District.

The group also endorsed Russell Pry for Summit County Executive, Mary Margaret Rowlands for Summit County Common Pleas Judge, and the Metro-SCAT public transportation levy.

Central Ohio

The Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio endorsed in two U.S. House races.

In the 12th District, the group endorsed its former president, Russ Goodwin, who is Ohio’s only openly gay U.S. House candidate.

In the neighboring 15th district, the group endorsed longtime LGBT ally Mary Jo Kilroy, who is currently a Franklin County commissioner.

None of the Log Cabin Republican groups in Ohio made primary endorsements.



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