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March 9. 2012

Helmink loses Ohio House run; Kurt and Brown win

Eastlake--James Helmink, the 29-year-old wunderkind vying for the Democratic nomination for the new Ohio House District 60, was knocked out in the March 6 primary.

He and Eastlake city councilor Laura A. DePledge were bested in the primary by Lake County Commissioner Daniel Troy, who Helmink believes does not reflect core Democratic values.

While the Plain Dealer endorsed Troy, the Cleveland daily’s editorial board also praised both Helmink and DePledge.

In early returns on March 6, both Helmink and DePledge had over 26 percent of the vote, but Troy had over 47 percent.

Helmink, who was valedictorian of Eastlake North High School in 2001, was one of four out gays and lesbians running for the Ohio House of Representatives, but the only one with primary opponents.

Incumbent Rep. Nickie Antonio in Lakewood, Wood County Commissioner Tim Brown in District 3 and Steve Newsome in Cincinnati had no primaries, and go on to face opponents in the general election in November.

Two other out candidates in primary contests fared better than Helmink, however.

Summit County Councilor Sandra Kurt defeated her primary challenger Pete Crossland by a ten-point spread in early results, and she will face Republican Jane M. Davis in November for her at-large seat.

In Franklin County, Terry Brown, a former president of the Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio, had over four times as many votes for Franklin County recorder as his Democratic rival Cortez Lee Bogard as of press time. He will go on to face Republican Daphne Hawk in the November election.

In the 9th District for the United States House of Representatives, Dennis Kucinich, a staunch ally of the LGBT community, lost to Marcy Kaptur by a three-to-one margin, while dark horse candidate Graham Veysey was practically trapped in the gates. Early results showed Kucinich with 41% votes, Kaptur with 55% and Veysey with 4%.

Kaptur is also an ally of the of the LGBT community but Kucinich, in his runs for the White House, usually found himself the last Democratic candidate standing who supported full same-sex marriage. He is also often visible at LGBT events in the Cleveland area, including at least one Stonewall Democrats meeting in the Cleveland LGBT Center.

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