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September 11, 2009


Gain one, lose one

Kurt and Antonio win primaries but Santiago is defeated

Akron--The Rubber City will most likely gain its first openly lesbian official with Sandra Kurt easily defeating four other Democrats in the Ward 8 primary.

Meanwhile, Cleveland will lose its first gay official with Joe Santiago finishing third of seven in his reconfigured ward.

In Lakewood, out lesbian incumbent Nickie Antonio topped the list of nine council at-large candidates in the primary election on September 8.

Kurt, an industrial engineer with Goodyear, garnered just under 50 percent of the total vote, 1,122 votes, in the five-way race. She will face Republican Elizabeth Berry Smith, who got 355 votes running unopposed, in the November election.

Kurt watched the results surrounded by members of the Summit County Stonewall Democrats, the organization she founded. She had their endorsement, plus ones from the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats and the Lesbian and Gay Victory Fund, a Washington, D.C. group that backs lesbian and gay candidates.

While the ward is generally Democratic, it is the only ward in Akron where a Republican could win, so Kurtís campaign continues through November 3.

Cummins and Nagin in Ward 14

The embattled Santiago got 265 votes in the race to represent Clevelandís Ward 14.

The top vote-getter, Brian Cummins, got 539 and the runner up, Rick Nagin, got 393. The two will square off in November.

Cummins currently represents Ward 15 which was eliminated, with part of it added to the new Ward 14. Nagin was an aide to former councilor Nelson Cintron, whom Santiago defeated in 2005. Cintron also ran this time, finishing fourth.

During his tenure, Santiago fought off a recall attempt led by the bitter Cintron, and dealt with unfounded Plain Dealer reports that he was the target of an FBI investigation.

Santiago is the sponsor of Clevelandís ordinance adding gender identity and expression to the list of categories protected from discrimination. The measure is expected to come to the city council floor after the November election. Santiago will remain in his seat until the end of the year.

Cummins is a co-sponsor of the ordinance and was endorsed by the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats. He is not gay.

Antonio is the top vote-getter

Antonio, also endorsed by the Victory Fund and the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats, got 2,400 votes running at-large. In November, the top six vote-getters in the primary will vie for three seats, making it likely that Antonio will be re-elected.

In other Cleveland races, Mayor Frank Jackson easily defeated four opponents, including former councilor Bill Patmon, the runner up. The two will square off in November.

The Cleveland Stonewall Democrats also endorsed incumbents Mamie Mitchell in Ward 6 and Martin Sweeney in Ward 18, and challenger Jeffrey Johnson in Ward 8. All three were the top vote-getters in the primary.

Mitchell is committed to voting for the ordinance prohibiting discrimination against transgender people. Sweeney would not go on the record as a supporter of the ordinance.




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