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 crap.”

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 bill.