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January 18, 2008

Now, eight LGBT delegates may represent Ohio in Denver

Columbus--Four more LGBT people were selected as delegates for their respective candidates in the January 3 Democratic caucuses around the state, bringing the total to at least eight.

In central Ohio’s 15th congressional district, three people were selected, two of them running as Hillary Clinton delegates, and one as a John Edwards delegate.

Bill Hedrick, the president of the Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio, was selected as one of the potential delegates for former Sen. John Edwards.

In the Clinton caucus, Bo Shuff, director of education and public policy for Equality Ohio, and Sarah Hamilton, legislative and political mobilization coordinator for the Ohio Federation of Teachers, were both selected.

While Shuff was quick to note that his support of Clinton is his own and not that of his organization, Hamilton pointed out teachers’ union members also ran to be Clinton delegates, as the union has endorsed her in the primary.

Shuff began the presidential season as a proponent of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who dropped out of the race last week. However, the candidate’s luster quickly tarnished after last August’s “Visible Voice” forum, presented by the Human Rights Campaign and the Logo cable network, which caters to the LGBT community.

During that forum, Richardson stumbled over a question on whether he believes homosexuality is inborn or chosen, and his attempts to clarify his answer in the days following the event served only to further muddy his views.

Up north, Ron Sermak of the Cleveland suburb of Parma was elected to be an Obama delegate for the 10th congressional district.

He joined attorney Jason Bristol in the Obama delegation from that district, while John Farina was unsuccessful in his bid to represent Edwards, as was Gay People’s Chronicle publisher Martha Pontoni in her bid for Clinton delegacy.

In the 11th district, Jason Lansdale, a former president of the Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio, was selected as a potential Edwards delegate, but attorney Leslye Huff and her partner Mary Ostendorf were unsuccessful in their attempts to become Clinton delegates.

In the southwest corner of the state, Dr. Ronn Rucker vied for Clinton delegacy in the 1st district, but was also unsuccessful.

In District 9, Equality Toledo co-president David Mann was successful in his bid to be an Obama delegate, while in Massillon for District 16, Chronicle staff reporter Eric Resnick was selected for Rep. Dennis Kucinich and Equality Ohio board member H. Paul Schwitzgebel was unsuccessful in his bid for the Obama delegation.

In District 17, which held its caucus at the Trumbull Career and Technical Center, Tristan Hand of Warren was selected to be a delegate for Sen. Chris Dodd, who dropped out of the race later that night after disappointing results in the Iowa caucuses.

To become an Ohio delegate, one first submits an application indicating the candidate of choice, name, address, and “affirmative action information.” Among the boxes that can be checked off are “LGBT” and “Disabled.”

Only Democrats caucused in Ohio; the state’s Republican delegates are selected by the presidential campaigns and the party.

The March 4 Ohio primary election will determine the number of Democratic delegates each presidential candidate will get from the state. A candidate needs at least 15 percent of the primary vote to send delegates from Ohio to the national convention in Denver on the last week of August.

Shuff contacted the Gay People’s Chronicle about himself, Hedrick and Hamilton after reading last week’s story on the other delegate candidates. The Ohio Democratic Party has not yet released a list of potential delegates approved by the January 3 caucuses.


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