Openly gay lawmaker loses convention battle, queer ally wins mayoral nomination

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Sen. Ben McAdams won the Democratic Party nomination for Salt Lake County Mayor with the support of the Utah Stonewall Democrats, the queer caucus within the party. Utah’s only openly gay legislator, Brian Doughty, lost his bid for House District 26 to Angela Romero after he was redistricted out of House District 30. Romero garnered approximately 70 percent of the vote.

In the first round of voting, McAdams won 57 percent of the vote, 3 percent shy of the required 60 percent to avoid a primary race. He asked delegates to vote for him in the second round to avoid a prolonged intraparty race against Ross Romero, D-Salt Lake City. In the second round of voting, he won with 61 percent of the vote. McAdams has been a vocal supporter of queer rights and has sponsored a statewide anti-bias bill protecting against discrimination in workplace and housing based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“I am proud that I’ve fought to put our values into action,” McAdams said. “I have fought and I have led on LGBT equality.”

Angela Romero (no relation to Ross Romero)  will be replacing outgoing Sen. David Litvack as the Democratic nominee. Litvack retired at the end of the 2012 session. She has been heavily involved in social justice an said she would support an anti-discrimination ordinance as well as second-parent adoptions.

“I am very committed to social justice,” Romero told the Stonewall Democrats.

Democrats Neal Hendrickson and Liz Muniz will face off in a primary for House District 33 in June. Incumbent Rebecca Chavez-Houck earned her party’s nomination with more than 80 percent of the vote over her opponent Richard Golberger. Former U.S. Senate candidate Sam Granato beat activist Deb Henry with 61 percent of the vote in the Salt Lake County Council District 4 race.

On the Republican side, openly gay Salt Lake County at-large candidate Mel Nimer will face a primary battle this June against Joseph Demma, a former campaign manager for Gov. Gary Herbert. Nimer said he is gearing up for the primary in battle this June and trying to reach out to as many of the 100,000 or more registered Republicans who can vote in the primary. Those interested in volunteering for the campaign or making a donation can visit melnimer.com.

McAdams’ Republican opponent for November will be determined in a primary race pitting West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder and former-Salt Lake County Councilman Mark Crockett. Winder was mayor of West Valley when the city passed a nondiscrimination ordinance protecting against bias based on sexual orientation and gender identity in workplace and  housing. Crockett served on the County Council and voiced his support for measures allowing Salt Lake County employees to appoint an adult designee for health insurance benefits.

Rep. Derek Brown, who co-sponsored a statewide nondiscrimination ordinance, went into the convention unopposed. Rep. LaVar Christensen, who has sponsored various anti-gay laws, including Amendment 3, which defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman, faced an intraparty challenge from Austin Linford. Christensen won with 68 percent of the delegate vote.

The Stonewall Democrats made the following endorsements:

Salt Lake County Mayor: Ben McAdams

Salt Lake County Council District 2: Brent Goodfellow

Salt Lake County Council District 4: Sam Granato

State Senate District 8: Josie Valdez

State House District 24: Rebecca Chavez-Houck

State House District 26: Brian Doughty

State House District 33: Liz Muniz

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