Election Results Send the Message: "Inclusion Wins"
(WASHINGTON, DC) – The 2001 elections featured Democratic wins in two key governorships against Republican candidates who were painted as extremists, while a Republican made history in New York City with significant support from gays, Latinos and African Americans.
Republican Mike Bloomberg became the first Republican to succeed a GOP mayor in the history of New York City yesterday, winning just over 50% of the vote against Democrat Mark Green. Election returns and exit polling showed that Bloomberg captured one-third of the gay vote, 25% of the African American vote and almost half of the Latino vote citywide, which combined made up more than ten times his winning margin.
"Many factors played an important role in Bloomberg's late surge, but as Mike said in his acceptance speech, he won because he ran an inclusive campaign," said Rich Tafel, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, who attended the Bloomberg victory celebration in New York. "Mike Bloomberg didn't just put up TV ads, he reached out to all New Yorkers and got their votes. A Republican who splits the Latino vote, wins a third of the gay vote and takes one in four black votes is the kind of Republican we need running all across the country."
"This was a great victory for all New Yorkers, including gay and lesbian New Yorkers who realized that Mike is a friend of our community," said David Jackson, outreach chairman for Log Cabin Republicans of New York City, who also worked on the Bloomberg campaign.
Meanwhile, Democrats picked up two governorships that had been held by Republicans for almost a decade. In New Jersey, Republican Bret Schundler was soundly defeated, and Republicans lost control of the State Assembly. Schundler gained significant support from national social conservative organizations in his dogged primary victory against 2000 GOP Senate candidate Bob Franks, who nearly defeated Democrat Jon Corzine in that race despite being outspent 10-1. Franks was a pro-inclusion gay rights supporter. Schundler campaigned as an opponent of gay rights and was painted by the Democrats as an "extremist."
"New Jersey is a bellwether state for national politics, and has a history of burying anti-gay and exclusionary candidates for statewide office," Tafel said. "Even with ten times the money, Schundler could never have won that election because he wasn't an inclusive Republican."
In Virginia, two Republicans had won successive victories in 1993 and 1997 by running on core fiscal issues and appealing to swing voters. This year, GOP candidate Mark Early launched his general election push with an anti-gay ad campaign that ran in the moderate Northern Virginia suburbs, while Democrat Mark Warner stressed transportation and development issues, used inclusive themes and reached out to Republicans on gun rights. GOP Lt. Governor candidate Jay Katzen ran as a staunch social conservative, with anti-gay themes as a high-profile part of his campaign. Earley and Katzen were both defeated, while the rest of the GOP statewide ticket won and Republicans scored victories in other races around the state.
"The top two Republicans didn't connect with the center while Mark Warner ran as a moderate Republican," Tafel said. "The results showed that the Republican Party is still popular in Virginia, but anti-gay Republicans don't win statewide."
Log Cabin Republicans endorsed Mike Bloomberg for Mayor in New York City, but withheld endorsements in the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial elections.
Log Cabin Republicans is the nation's largest gay and lesbian Republican organization, with state and local chapters nationwide, a full-time national office and a federal political action committee.
For More Information:
Log Cabin Republicans New York City: www.lcrny.org
Log Cabin Republicans Northern Virginia: www.valogcabin.org
Mike Bloomberg on Gay Issues: www.mikeformayor.org/issues/gayrights.shtml