Four openly gay candidates vying for
seats in the New York City Council have advanced to the November
general election, where they are heavily favored to win.
All four candidates were among the six
endorsed by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, a group that promotes
openly gay elected officials. The group's backing of six candidates
in a single city was a record.
Daniel Dromm trumped eight-year
incumbent Helen Sears in a three-way contest for the Queens district
25 seat. It's Dromm's freshman run at politics after serving 24
years as a public school teacher. Dromm also enjoyed the endorsement
of the New York Times: “Though Councilwoman Helen Sears has
made efforts to expand her [constituency] services, the district
deserves more energetic representation.”
Dromm also pointed to the lack of
constituency services as putting him over the top with voters.
“People felt it was time for a
change,” he told gay weekly Gay
City News. “The Council member was not present.”
Next door, in district 26, James Van
Bramer also advanced. Van Bramer is the very out candidate who is
running on a decades-old record of gay and AIDS activism and an
impressive resume of grassroots organizing.
“James Van Bramer has done good work
for the borough's enviable library system and has the independence
and energy the Council needs,” the New York Times said in
District 26 is also in Queens, and
voters in the borough will now have two gay men to hold accountable.
Meanwhile, in Manhattan, City Council
Speaker Christine Quinn easily held on to the district 3 seat she has
tended to for nearly a decade. Still, the victory was weak, raising
questions about whether she'll be able to hang on to her leadership
post as speaker. In defending her seat, Quinn attracted 52 percent
of the vote, an unimpressive feat for an incumbent facing two
unseasoned challengers (both were women who also happen to be gay).
About the four gay candidates who
appear headed for victory, Quinn told The
Village Voice: “There are now four gay members of the
council, the most ever. I'm very excited about the fact that we've
doubled the size of our caucus.”
Finally, the biggest winner of them all
was Rosie Mendez, the district 2 openly lesbian candidate. Mendez is
asking voters for four more years, and, by the likes of it, voters
seem happy to give it to her. Mendez trounced her opponent, Juan
Pagan, with a resounding 82 percent of the vote.