For Immediate Release:
Saturday, June 16, 2007
OPENLY GAY DALLAS MAYORAL CANDIDATE DEFEATED IN CLOSE RUN-OFF
HRC Commends Ed Oakley's Historic Bid to Become First Elected Openly Gay Mayor of a Major U.S. City
WASHINGTON - Today, openly gay Dallas mayoral candidate Ed Oakley was defeated in a run-off election to determine the next mayor of Dallas, the nation's ninth-largest city. Oakley, a three-term member of the Dallas City Council, received 42 percent of the vote, losing by 13,000 votes to Tom Leppert. Oakley would have become the first openly gay person elected to lead one of America's 10 largest cities.
"This was an extremely tough race that went down to the wire. Despite the end result, the significant number of Dallas voters who supported Ed Oakley sent a powerful message to the rest of the nation that local officials should be judged on their qualifications and merits, and not on their sexual orientation," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Ed's success on the Dallas City Council and his strong candidacy for mayor demonstrate that today it is possible for qualified candidates of all backgrounds - whether black or white, Christian or Jewish, male or female, or straight or gay - to be elected to the highest levels of local government across the country."
Unfortunately, at least one group mounted an anti-gay telephone campaign targeting conservative voters. "Being openly gay simply is not an issue to the vast majority of the electorate," said Solmonese. "Unfortunately, opponents of equality tried to play the politics of fear and bigotry, but the strong support for Oakley's candidacy in both the primary and run-off demonstrates that such tactics no longer work. We applaud Tom Leppert for condemning these attacks, and we hope he will be a mayor who works to make Dallas a safer, freer and more welcoming city for all its residents."
HRC is proud to have partnered with Equality Texas, the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance, the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund in working for Ed Oakley's election. HRC members made thousands of phone calls to mobilize voters and volunteered hundreds of hours to help elect Oakley. In addition, HRC's political action committee contributed financially to Oakley's campaign.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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