The Equality Florida Action PAC has released their Primary Endorsements for the state. The PAC only endorses candidates that meet a combination of their strategic criteria:
1.They must be Champions of LGBT equality
2.They must be running strong in competitive races.
3.In particular, we support qualified, openly LGBT candidates who can bring a vital perspective and much-needed voice to the political debates that impact our lives.
They have also announced their Top 5 Targeted Races, which they say are strategically vital, are very close, and need financial support.
See the endorsements and targeted races after the jump...
Top Targeted Races:
Mark LaFontaine, State House District 92- If elected, Mark LaFontaine will become Florida's first openly LGBT state legislator - a huge milestone for our entire state. Because there is no Republican opponent, Mark's race will be decided in the August 26th primary. Mark has a slim fundraising lead and needs our immediate financial support. www.marklafontaine.com
Ken Gottlieb, State Senate District 31- As a state Representative, Ken Gottlieb championed our safe schools bill from the beginning. At a time when few people in Tallahassee would speak honestly about LGBT issues, Ken was an fearless leader for our community. Both of the other candidates in this race, Eleanor Sobel and Tim Ryan, have strong records of support for LGBT issues, but Ken's outstanding leadership makes him our choice in this tight winner-take-all Democratic primary. www.kengottlieb2008.com
Charles McKenzie, State House District 55- Charles McKenzie, a minister, has been a visible and longstanding supporter of equality for the LGBT community helping to pass local protections in central Florida. His opponent in this winner-take-all Democratic Primary, Darryl Rouson has been criticized for virulently anti-gay remarks he made during a TV show in 2006. Visit www.eqflblogspot.com for more information. www.mckenzie2008.com
Kevin Beckner, Hillsborough County Commission District 6- Kevin Beckner has a strong chance of becoming the first openly gay Hillsborough County Commissioner (includes Tampa). His presence on the commission could reverse the anti-gay trend the commission has taken in recent years, which included the banning of any recognition of gay pride events by the county. Kevin has a broad and diverse base of support and is leading his primary opponents in fundraising. www.KevinBeckner.com
Darden Rice, Pinellas County Commission At-Large District 3- If elected, Darden Rice will be the first openly-lesbian member of the Pinellas County Commission (includes St. Pete / Clearwater). Darden has been a supporter of Equality Florida and the progressive community . She has built a strong coalition of environment, civil rights and community activists. She is leading her primary opponents in fundraising and has an excellent chance to win. www.DardenRice.com
House and Senate Races:
Chris Smith, Senate District 29- As the Democratic Leader in the House of Representative, Chris Smith co-sponsored both Equality Florida's safe schools and adoption bills. A victory would put a well-respected champion for equality in the Senate. www.chrissmithforsenate.com
Betty Reed, State House District 59- Representative Betty Reed voted for an amendment to add categories to the anti-bully bill last legislative session including specific protections for LGBT students. www.votebettyreed.com
Kevin Rader, State House District 78- Candidate Rader received a 100% on our candidate questionnaire and is committed to equality for LGBT Floridians. www.kevinrader.com
Kenneth Thurston, State House District 94- Candidate Thurston received a 100% on our candidate questionnaire and is committed to equality for LGBT Floridians. Kenthurston94@aol.com
Evan Jenne, State House District 100- Rep. Jenne has been a strong ally to the LGBT community in Tallahassee. He has co-sponsored several bills, debated on the House floor for an amendment to include LGBT students in the safe schools bill and has spoken out against hate violence. www.EvanJenne.com
Richard Steinberg, State House District 106- As Commissioner to Miami Beach Richard Steinberg played a key role in passing Florida's strongest Domestic Partnership policy and in adding Gender Identity to the Human Rights Ordinance. Richard's opponent in the race, Joe Geller, also has a strong record of support for LGBT issues and as mayor of North Bay Village led the passage of a Domestic Partnership policy. However, Richard's leadership on two key local policy initiatives that have become models for the state makes him our choice in this winner-take-all primary. www.RichardSteinberg.com
Robin Bartleman, Broward School Board District 9- School Board member Robin Bartleman has been an absolute champion pushing hard at the local and state level for anti-bully policies that include protections for LGBT students. She has stood with our community every time we've needed her. www.Bartleman.com
Bryan Caletka, Broward County Commission District 7- The former Vice-Mayor of Davie, Florida, Bryan is running a strong campaign to become Broward County's second openly gay Commissioner. Bryan has a 100% rating on Equality Florida's candidate questionnaire and would be a champion for LGBT issues. www.electbryancaletka.com
Beverly Gallagher, Broward School Board District 2- Beverly Gallagher has been a strong supporter of protecting LGBT students from harassment and bullying and of including LGBT families in school diversity training programs. www.BeverlyGallagher.com
Adriane Reesey, Broward Supervisor of Elections- Adriane Reesey is running as an out lesbian for the Broward Supervisor of Elections. As chair of the Broward Human Rights Board, Adriane has been an outspoken proponent of adding gender identity protections to the County Human Rights ordinance and has a powerful record of standing for full equality. www.VoteReesey2008.com
Richard Saltrick, Broward School Board District 1- Candidate Rick Saltrick received a 100% on our candidate questionnaire and is committed to protecting and supporting LGBT students. www.RickSaltrick.com
Miami Dade County
Caroline Tesche, Circuit Court Judge, Hillsborough County Group One- Caroline is running as an out lesbian for Circuit Judge in Hillsborough County. She is a highly qualified candidate with an extensive legal background and as a community volunteer. www.ElectTesche.com
Palm Beach County
Evelyn Langlieb Greer, Miami Dade School Board District 9- Evelyn Greer has been a key ally on the Miami-Dade School Board and Miami-Dade County and has stood with the LGBT community many times. email@example.com
Dr. Martin Karp, Miami Dade School Board District 3- Dr. Karp has been a champion on the Miami Dade school board and introduced the districts comprehensive anti-bullying policy. www.martinkarp.com
Susan Bucher, Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections- As a State Representative, Susan Bucher was a vocal supporter of LGBT issues and perennial co-sponsor of Equality Florida-backed legislation. PO Box 16574,
West Palm Beach, FL 33416.
Shelley Vana, Palm Beach County Commissioner District 3- As a State Representative, Shelley Vana was a key ally in ensuring the safe schools bill addressed anti-lgbt bullying. Shelley has been a longtime supporter and has co-sponsored many of Equality Florida's legislative priorities. 6038 Bania Wood Circle, Lantana, FL 33462.
Janet Clark, Pinellas County School Board at Large 1- Janet Clark received a 100% on our candidate questionnaire and is committed to equality for LGBT Floridians. 836 5th St N, St Petersburg, FL 33701.