One of the highlights of Tuesday's primary: Openly gay and lesbian state lawmakers in Maryland. "With four incumbents and three newcomers victorious in all-but-determinative Democratic primaries Tuesday night," Gay Politics reports. "Maryland is set to join just a handful of states to have been served by seven openly gay or lesbian state legislators in the same legislative session."
Among the winners is 48-year-old environmentalist and community activist Mary Washington, "who is on track to becoming just the second openly lesbian African-American to be elected to a state legislature anywhere in America." An administrator at Parks and People Foundation, Washington made a very strong showing in the 2006 election, when she first ran for the Maryland House, reports The Voice.
[Washington] is backed by an impressive showing in the 2006 Democratic primary election, when she first ran for delegate in the 43rd District. With an impressive 7,347 votes, she came in fourth for the three primary-election positions, losing out to Ann Marie Doory — who nailed third place — by 1,379 votes. Washington pointed out that she netted 4,000 more votes (4,273, to be exact) than the candidate who placed fifth.
Encouraged by her strong showing in the 2006 election — “Out of all the challengers across the state who had never run before, I did better than anyone across the state,” she says — Washington decided about 19 months ago to make another run for the seat. She believes that all of the candidates approached the delegation for support but they ultimately chose her. "I suppose they had a meeting and felt that I would be the best fit,” she said.
Baltimore's 43rd District will likely have two lesbian representatives in the House of Delegates. Incumbent Maggie McIntosh also won her primary. Washington, McIntosh and many other Democratic state legislative candidates in Maryland are running unopposed in November, so Tuesday's primary was the de-facto election.
Brava and congratulations to Mary Washington, who was one of 33 openly LGBT candidates in the nation endorsed by the Victory Fund during this cycle. Washington follows in the footsteps of Georgia's Simone Bell, who in December 2009 became the first openly lesbian black state legislator in U.S. history. Connecticut's Jason Bartlett and Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox are the nation's only openly Black male state legislators.