The first point is clear: Brian ran an excellent campaign. He did what a candidate should do. He raised the needed funds, met the people and told them what he stood for. He won. On the other side is Babette Josephs: She lost, but her loss is her own fault. She didn’t raise the money, at times it looked like she didn’t want to meet the voters and she confused people with recent votes.
Many of us admired what Babette did for this community over the last 27 years and were very torn on whom to vote for. I include myself in that category, as do the others at PGN who made our endorsement of Sims. That endorsement was one of the hardest we had to make at this publication. Both candidates were equal on the issues: being gay, Brian would be the best advocate for LGBT issues and Babette is an incredible advocate for women’s issues in a time where, once again, women’s heath is under attack.
The issue of loyalty spoke largely to us, but it was Babette herself that made all of us agree that it was Brian’s time. Up until the week before the primary, Sarah, Jen and myself were in deep debate on who PGN should endorse. Each of us went back and forth on who it should be. We also knew that the race was so close that this paper’s endorsement would most likely lead to a win. Not a day went by without us stopping to discuss, and the more we discussed, the more we were confounded.
Finally, at the one and only debate, the one issue that had kept us from making a decisive decision for Sims was taken out of the picture by none other than Babette herself. In her closing remarks, she said she would remain in the legislature as long as she wanted to. No one owns an elected office. If you believe in our political system, you cannot support that view, and it immediately took the loyalty issue off the table.
We wish Brian every success, but he has a long road to go. While he is not the gay state rep, he is the state rep who will be our champion. In that regard, his work begins almost immediately, He needs to know who the players are, especially in the Republican Party. Yes, you read that right. One of the appealing issues Brian brought to the table was the possibility of working with the Republicans to end those anti-gay marriage amendments. It simply takes a handful of Republicans and a united Democrat caucus. Both are possible. And, of course, the real issue is nondiscrimination legislation. Brian, you have a full plate and a lot to cram in just a few months. Welcome, state Rep. Sims.
Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.