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November 16, 2012

Ohio now has two out state lawmakers

Wood County’s Tim Brown joins Nickie Antonio in the Statehouse

Columbus--Nickie Antonio, the state’s first out legislator, will be getting some company in the Ohio House of Representatives when she returns in January for her second term.

Wood County commissioner Tim Brown took 51 percent of the vote for the District 3 seat, compared to Democrat Kelly Wicks’ 43 percent. Wicks led in early voting, but fell behind on election day.

Brown, a Republican, has been a commissioner for 14 years in Wood County, which includes Bowling Green south of Toledo. He came out publicly in 2007 after being outed by a blog.

Antonio won reelection to her District 13 seat in Lakewood and western Cleveland with over 75 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, trouncing Republican John Zappala.

In the Akron area, Summit County Councilor Sandra Kurt, a former president of the Summit County Stonewall Democrats, retained her at-large seat with 60 percent of the vote, turning back the challenge of Jane M. Davis.

Another former Stonewall Democrats president, this time of the Central Ohio chapter, will be the Franklin County recorder.

Terry J. Brown defeated Republican incumbent Daphne Hawk, taking over 57 percent of the vote. Hawk was appointed to the position in 2011 to replace the former recorder, Robert Montgomery, who went to Franklin County Probate Court as a judge.

The four join seven other openly gay or lesbian local elected officials in Ohio who were not up for re-election last week, plus two judges. (Eleven additional out Ohio officials, elected since 1986, have since left office.)

In the statewide United States Senate race, incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown, a staunch LGBT ally, beat back the challenge of Republican Josh Mandel 53.8 percent to 41.7 percent.

Brown, who is very popular in the larger urban centers of the state, had an early lead in the election cycle, but Mandel tightened the gap in recent months, after an influx of an estimated $40 million from Republican political groups.

Along with Brown’s victory, Ohio also remained a blue state in the presidential voting; in fact, all eight of the so-called “battleground states” went to President Barack Obama, who repealed the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and stopped Justice Department court defense of the Defense of Marriage Act, which he believes is unconstitutional.

That left House Speaker John Boehner of Cincinnati to use taxpayer money to defend the law, instead of allowing it to die before it can be struck down by the Supreme Court. The high court is expected to decide November 30 whether it will take up the issue.

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