Gay Utah candidates Lee Castillo and Derek Kitchen win and lead respective primary races

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Gay Hispanic social worker Lee Castillo has won the Democratic primary to challenge eight-term Republican Rep. Rob Bishop in November.

Castillo defeated businessman Kurt Weiland in Tuesday’s primary to become the Democratic nominee for northern Utah’s 1st Congressional District. The district runs across the northern part of the state.

As part of his platform, Castillo will fight to eradicate discrimination, injustice, and inequalities, particularly within marginalized communities.

In a Facebook post, Castillo said, “This is just the beginning… I still need your help through November to defeat Congressman Bishop. Let’s bring him home. I will be a representative that has YOUR best interest in mind and in my heart. I will fight for you!

In the District 2 Senate race, openly gay Derek Kitchen leads Jennifer Plumb 53 percent to 47 so far in unofficial results, a spread of 511 votes.

Late-arriving by-mail ballots are still to be counted. But Kitchen claimed victory in a speech to supporters, declaring that “spread is pretty safe,” reported The Salt Lake Tribune.

Kitchen also posted to Facebook saying in victory, “I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to represent you and our shared values in the legislature. Know that I will fight and stand up for all of us, from gender equity to immigrant rights, education to healthcare for all, we have a lot to fight for. I will work to protect our public lands, legalize cannabis, and stand up for the rights of our LGBTQ+ family.

“Thank you for all your support. Our work isn’t done. The general election is this November, and now is the time to mobilize and organize to make sure we elect proper representation in the Utah Legislature.”

Plumb, however, said, “I’m certainly not at this point conceding… I would love to see the final results.”

Tribune reporter Taylor Stevens who covered the Senate race said, “Kitchen is claiming victory at this point. I have not yet heard back from Jennifer’s campaign on whether or not they are conceding. It looks pretty close at this point, kind of a 4-point spread. Maybe too soon to call, we’ll see how the final results shake out in the next couple days or weeks as we get those in.”

Photo by Steve Griffin

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