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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

LGBT Group Comes Out With Endorsements

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 12:20 PM

Get it? "Comes Out"? Hahahahaha. 

Just kill me. 

Anyway, I've been overdue in noting this, but the Steel City Stonewall Democrats have released their endorsements for the May 2009 primary.

Perhaps the most notable outcome is that Patrick Dowd edged out Luke Ravenstahl for the mayoral endorsement. If it's any consolation to Ravenstahl, who has reached out to the LGBT community repeatedly, Dowd was "recommended" rather than "strongly endorsed." That means he got a simple majority of the group's votes, rather than the two-thirds margn required for a strong endorsement. 

City council candidates Natlia Rudiak (District 4) and Bill Peduto were both "strongly endorsed." Georgia Blotzer in District 2 was recommended, while Tonya Payne receieved an "honorable mention."

For those interested, Sue Kerr has an excellent write-up of the proceedings last weekend. The Stonewall questionnaires are also worth a look. In the mayor's race, I was interested to see Ravenstahl give no answer for a question about needle exchange. He also didn't respond to a question about whether he'd ever supported an openly gay candidate.

As one would expect, Ravenstahl's answers are much terser than those of Dowd. But the distinction for weirdest answer goes to Carmen Robinson, who when asked to "describe your familiarity with Greater Pittsburgh's LGBT Community," answered thusly: 

I am a fan of Poet Gertrude Stein and Allegheny County and I am aware of their democratic party.

With that, I guess, Robinson has locked up the vote of all the fans of Tender Buttons who live in Pittsburgh. If the merits of experimental fiction come up in this primary season, look for Robinson to score some quick debating points. 

In council action, the District 2 questionnaires are also worth a look: Smith, the incumbent in that race by virtue of a special election earlier this year, did not respond at all. But both Blotzer and Rob Frank gave solid answers. Which is nice, unless you support Blotzer and suspect -- as some others do -- that Frank will peel off votes for your candidate. In District 4, meanwhile, a crowded race got thinned out in a hurry: Rudiak was the only person to respond to Stonewall's questionnaire

Over in District 8, Christine Stone's game response wasn't enough to overcome the fact that Peduto has years of street cred with the LGBT crowd.  One suspects a similar dynamic in play -- in more muted fashion -- in District 6, where both incumbent Tonya Payne and challenger Daniel LaVelle make the right kind of noise. (With the possible exception of a query on abstinence education, where neither had a comment.) Payne's "honorable mention" means she polled more votes than her rival, but without making the 50 percent mark. 

Other endorsements and candidate questionnaire's can be found at the Stonewall site. I'll just add that Pittsburgh has come a long way in a short period of time when even the candidate for sheriff, Bill Mullen, feels obliged to respond to the questions and concerns of LGBT groups. True, he didn't say a lot: His support of needle exchange was understandably conditional, and his assertion that "I do not believe abortion should be used as birth control" was a little weird. But it speaks volumes about the community's increasing influence that he said it at all.

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