D.C. Councilmember Robert White (D-At-Large); at-large Council candidate Christina Henderson, who’s running as an independent; and gay Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Randy Downs, who’s running for the Ward 2 Council seat as an independent each received a +10 rating on LGBTQ issues this week from the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance.
GLAA, which rates only D.C. Council candidates, scores candidates on a scale of between -10, the lowest possible rating, to +10, the highest possible score. It bases its ratings on candidates’ responses to a detailed questionnaire as well as on their record on LGBTQ issues.
In a development unlike nearly all of its past candidate ratings since the 1970s, an unusually large number of candidates — 19 out of the 34 D.C. Council candidates rated for the Nov. 3 general election — failed to return the questionnaire, resulting in their receiving a low rating.
GLAA says it automatically assigns a “0” rating to a candidate that does not return the questionnaire if GLAA lacks information about the candidate’s record on LGBTQ issues. If the LGBTQ advocacy group knows of a candidate’s supportive record, the candidate can receive a rating of between +1 and +4 based on “record” points even if he or she did not return the questionnaire.
Among the candidates from whom GLAA said it did not receive a returned questionnaire was gay Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Alexander Padro, who is one of 23 candidates running for one of the two at-large Council seats on the ballot in the Nov. 3 election. Padro, who is running as an independent, received a +2 GLAA rating, even though his supporters say he has a long record of involvement and support on LGBTQ issues.
Padro told the Washington Blade he never received the GLAA questionnaire and was startled when the Blade informed him he received a +2 rating and was listed in GLAA’s ratings announcement as not having returned the questionnaire.
“As a 20-year out ANC Commissioner, I am the second longest serving GLBTQIA elected official in D.C.,” Padro told GLAA President Bobbi Elaine Strang in an email on Monday. “I would never have ignored the request to complete the questionnaire had I received it,” he said in his email, a copy of which he sent to the Blade. He appealed to Strang for an opportunity to receive and quickly return the questionnaire.
In response Strang indicated that GLAA members discussed Padro’s request.
“Our consensus is that we will accept and rate any new questionnaires as long as they are in our possession by the 12th [of October],” Strang told Padro in an email. “We will publish them to our website and update the release and breakdown of points, but we will not be sending out the release – it will only be available on the website which you can link to or share yourself,” she said.
Padro, along with gay Ward 2 candidate Downs, has been endorsed by the LGBTQ Victory Fund, a national advocacy group that supports LGBTQ candidates running for public office. He said he would return the completed questionnaire to GLAA within a day or two after receiving it.
In a statement accompanying its ratings, GLAA said White, Henderson, and Downs agreed with GLAA on all of the issues GLAA deems important to the LGBTQ community and the three offered detailed, substantive responses to the questionnaire. GLAA awarded the three the maximum four points in its rating score for what it says is the candidates’ extensive record in support of LGBTQ issues, including White’s co-sponsorship and introduction of LGBTQ supportive legislation during his close to four years as a Council member.
D.C. Council member Brooke Pinto (D-Ward 2), who won a special election in June to fill the Council seat that became vacant when longtime Council member Jack Evans resigned earlier this year, is among four candidates, including Downs, competing for the Ward 2 seat.
GLAA gave Pinto a +7.5 rating, saying she agrees with GLAA on most issues covered in the questionnaire and provided “good substance” in her responses. But GLAA said Pinto lost points, as did other candidates, for not fully agreeing with GLAA’s support for a bill introduced by Council member David Grosso (I-At-Large) to decriminalize sex work in the District. GLAA said Pinto expressed support for decriminalizing the selling of sex by sex workers but opposes decriminalization of the buying of sex from sex workers’ customers, a position considered unacceptable by decriminalization advocates.
Ward 2 independent candidate Martin Miguel Fernandez and Ward 2 Statehood Green Party candidate Peter Bolton each received a 0 rating. GLAA said it did not receive a returned questionnaire from either of the two candidates.
Among the other independent candidates running for the at-large Council seat, GLAA issued these ratings: Monica Palacio, former director of the D.C. Office of Human Rights, +9.5; Ed Lazere, longtime D.C. community and progressive activist, +8; Mario Cristaldo, Latino community activist, +6.5; and Will Merrifield, affordable housing activist, +4.5. Libertarian at-large candidate Joe Bishop-Henchman received a +2.5 rating. GLAA says he agrees with GLAA on the issues but “offered very little substance” and did not provide information on any record on LGBTQ issues.
Former At-Large Council member Vincent Orange, who’s running as an independent to win back the seat he lost to Robert White in 2016, is among 15 at-large Council candidates that GLAA says did not return the questionnaire. Orange received a +2.5 rating.
In addition to Padro, the remaining at-large Council candidates that GLAA says did not return the questionnaire are Markus Batchelor, +1; Claudia Barragan, +1; Statehood Green Party candidate Ann Wilcox, +0.5; Marcus Goodwin, 0; Franklin Garcia, 0; Calvin Gurley, 0; Keith Silver, 0; Michelangelo ‘Doctor Mic’ Scruggs, 0; Jeanne Lewis, 0; Eric Rogers, 0; Chander Jayaraman, 0; A ‘Shia Howard, 0; Kathy Henderson, -1; and Republican Marya Pickering, -3.
In the Ward 4 Council race, Democrat Janeese Lewis George, who beat incumbent Council member Brandon Todd in the June Democratic primary, received +6.5 GLAA rating. Independent Ward 4 candidate Perry Red, who GLAA says did not return the questionnaire, received a rating of 0.
In Ward 7, incumbent D.C. Council member and former D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, who is running unopposed, received a +8 rating.
In Ward 8, Democratic incumbent Trayon White received a +4 rating; independent candidate Frederick Hill received +2.5; independent Christopher Cole, who did not return the questionnaire, received a 0; and Republican Nate Derenge, who GLAA says “opposes GLAA on every issue” in his questionnaire responses, received a -2.
GLAA says it will soon post on its website the full point breakdown for all of the candidates it rated along with the questionnaire responses for all candidates that returned the questionnaire, on glaa.org.
SOURCE: Read the full article on the Washington Blade