Cleveland Councilman Joe Santiago has
lost the race to keep his Ward 14 seat.
Openly gay Santiago finished third last
week in the city's non-partisan primary; only the top two
vote-getters proceed to the November 3 general election.
Santiago's four-year tenure has been
filled with drama. About a year after taking office, opponents
launched an effort to recall him. He handily held on to his seat but
the attacks persisted.
In 2007, Cleveland daily The Plain
Dealer reported that Santiago was the subject of an FBI
investigation. The paper quoted three anonymous sources. While the
FBI charges never materialized, the paper's reporting severely
damaged Santiago's reputation.
“The PD stuff has done
damage,” Santiago told gay publication Gay People's Chronicle
last month. “A lot of people who read the PD believe the
Santiago, a former Navy cook, never
seemed to regain his footing after the paper published its story.
During an hour-long interview with On Top Magazine in 2008, he
spent a good deal of time talking about how unfairly his opponents
had painted him during the 2007 recall.
In the months running up to the
primary, his problems only grew worse. The Gay & Lesbian Victory
Fund, a group that supports GLBT elected officials nationally, failed
to endorse Santiago's second bid for city council. And locally,
Cleveland Stonewall Democrats, the city's gay Democratic club, backed
Santiago's straight challenger, Councilman Brian Cummings.
Ending discrimination against
Cleveland's gay community was high on Santiago's to-do list. He
backed the city's recently approved domestic partnership registry and
was moving forward with plans to introduce a transgender protections