Openly gay City Commissioner Craig Lowe
was declared mayor-elect of Gainesville, Florida on Friday, the
Gainesville Sun reported.
A narrow April 13 victory for Lowe, 52,
triggered a recount before officials would sign off on a winner. The
new count, however, turned in similar results: 6,110 votes for Lowe,
6,068 votes for his opponent, Don Marsh.
Lowe captured just over 40% of the vote
in a field of 5 candidates in the city's mayoral election last month,
while Marsh trailed with 29%. As the two highest vote-getters
without a majority vote, the two men faced off in last Tuesday's
The campaign was long and turned ugly
when Lowe opponents attacked his sexual orientation.
A sign that said “No Homo Mayor”
was posted on the property of the Dove World Outreach Center and
attracted national attention. One of its pastors, Wayne Sapp, went
further, uploading several videos online in which he attacked Lowe.
“Here is Gainesville, they're getting
ready to have a runoff election between two candidates and one of
them is openly a homo, gay, fag – whatever you want to call him, I
don't care,” Sapp
says in one of the videos. “Bottom line is we cannot afford a
“We got one running for mayor of
Gainesville, trying to convert Gainesville into Homoville,” Sapp
adds. “We can't have it.”
Lowe was also attacked for supporting a
city ordinance that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual
orientation and gender identity (transgender protections) in the
areas of employment, housing and public accommodations.
After city leaders in 2008 approved
adding gender identity to an anti-discrimination measure that already
included sexual orientation, opponents campaigned to place an
initiative to repeal the law on the ballot. Voters in the college
town, however, disagreed and the law remained in place.
One flier alleged that Lowe is
“'responsible' for legally allowing men into women's restrooms!”
For his part, Lowe pretty much ignored
the controversy. Marsh, however, accused Lowe supporters of falsely
labeling him anti-gay for not denouncing the attacks.
Lowe, a two-term city commissioner,
begins work as mayor on Monday.