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March 7, 2008

Goodwin loses
his House bid

He pledges to return; other Ohio gay candidates also fall short

Columbus--“We were outspent by quite a bit, possibly four to one,” said Russ Goodwin, the only openly gay candidate for U.S. Congress in Ohio.

Goodwin had sought the Democratic nomination in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District in eastern Columbus. He finished second in the three way race.

The district also includes Dublin, Westerville, New Albany, Bexley and Gahanna, along with Delaware County and most of Licking County.

The incumbent is Republican Pat Tiberi, who will be challenged in the general election by Goodwin’s winning opponent, David Robinson.

Goodwin had the endorsement of the Franklin County Democratic Party, but not the money to match Robinson.

Goodwin said he raised and spent around $12,000, and guessed that Robinson had closer to $50,000.

Robinson garnered 44,927 votes, or 51.17 percent of the vote. Goodwin got 30,276 votes, or 34.48 percent, and third-place finisher Aaron Dagres got 12,593 or 14.34 percent.

“We ran a clean race, but it didn’t pay off,” said Goodwin, a former Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio president and veterans activist. “I learned a lot, had a great time running, and I will be back.”

Goodwin added, “I’m a good Democrat. I endorse Robinson,” against Tiberi.

Goodwin said one of his opponents ran a quiet gay-baiting campaign behind the scenes, though he cannot tell which one. That campaign included phone calls and “push polls” questioning why the Democratic Party would endorse a gay man to run in a conservative, Republican-leaning district.

In a much less visible race, William McGivern of Cleveland, a former gay candidate for the Ohio House, lost a bid to get on the Republican State Central Committee in District 23, to Ohio Republican Party chair Robert Bennett.

Bennett got 6,267 votes or 68.34 percent. McGivern got 2,902 votes or 31.65 percent.

In Perry County, openly gay, 22-year-old Justin Nelson finished fourth of four in his bid to become the Democratic nominee for county commissioner.

The winner in that race is Charles Van Horn with 1,956 votes or 35.64 percent. Next finished Bill Gilligan with 1,796 votes or 32.73 percent, followed by Michael Kimble with 1,124 votes or 20.84 percent and Nelson with 611 or 11.13 percent.

Mary Wiseman, Ohio’s first openly lesbian judge, was unopposed in her Democratic race for Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.

Other congressional races

Dennis Kucinich, one of the most reliable LGBT allies in Congress, sailed to re-election in his five-way race. Kucinich was endorsed by the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats, but not until after contentious opposition by supporters of Cleveland City Council member Joe Cimperman.

Kucinich will likely beat Republican Jim Trakas in the overwhelmingly Democratic 10th district of western Cleveland and its suburbs. He got 68,156 votes or 50.26 percent. Cimperman was a distant second with 47,891 votes or 35.32 percent.

The remaining three contestants, Barbara Anne Ferris, Thomas O’Grady, and Rosemary Palmer, finished in that order with 19,542, or 14.41 percent, between them.

In the Democratic primary in the 15th congressional district--western Columbus and adjacent counties--Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy was unopposed. She was endorsed by the Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio, who also endorsed Goodwin.

The Stonewall Democrats of Summit County endorsed Bill O’Neill in the 14th District congressional race, which covers northeast Summit as well as Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula counties.

O’Neill, with 59,851 votes, or 62.5 percent, defeated opponents John Greene Jr., with 20,218 votes (21%) and Dale Virgil Blanchard with 15,617 votes (16%). O’Neill will face incumbent Republican Steve LaTourette in the fall.

In Hamilton County, the Second Congressional District pitted two anti-gay candidates against each other in the Republican primary.

In the end, incumbent Jean Schmidt defeated State Rep. Thomas Brinkman, with 40,891 votes, or 57%, to his 21,191 or 39%. Nathan Bailey got 2,057 votes.

Local contests

The Cleveland Stonewall Democrats endorsement for the Eighth District Ohio Court of Appeals, Judge Stuart Friedman, finshed third in his four-way race.

Leading the pack was Larry A. Jones with 63,444 votes or 27.44 percent, followed by Margaret Gardner with 59,987 votes or 25.95 percent.

Friedman garnered 55,315 or 23.92 percent, and Lakewood municipal judge Patrick Carroll got 52,415 or 22.67 percent.

The Summit County Stonewall Democrats’ pick for Common Pleas Court, Mary Margaret Rowlands, defeated her opponent, Jay Cole by 61,364 votes or 74.34 percent to 21,176 or 25.66 percent.

The group’s choice for county executive, incumbent Russell Pry, defeated challenger Joe Finley, 55,802 or 58.63% to 39,382 or 41.37%.

The group had also endorsed the Metro SCAT transportation levy, which passed.

Presidential primary

Senator Hillary Clinton defeated Democratic rival Senator Barack Obama in the party’s presidential race by more than 10 percent of the total vote.

The Ohio race, which became far more important than previously thought, also featured LGBT voters as a critical constituency for both campaigns.

LGBT activists were at the center of both campaign organizations nationally and in Ohio.

Both campaigns did extensive LGBT outreach and targeted LGBT zip codes in the state’s major cities.

No exit polls have been found showing how the LGBT vote split, but informal conversations suggest that it split fairly evenly.

No LGBT political group in Ohio endorsed in the presidential race.



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