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ELECTIONS 2014 Guide to the gays

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The next primary elections, to be held March 18, feature a number of openly gay and lesbian candidates. The following individuals have stated that they are members of the LGBT community and were on the ballot as of March 3.

Kelly Cassidy

Race: Illinois state Representative ( 14th District )

Website: .

The skinny: Cassidy, who defeated another lesbian candidate, Paula Basta, in March 2014, is this time running unopposed in the Democratic primary. Republican candidate Denis Detzel, a consultant, is also running unopposed in that district. Before taking office, Cassidy was an activist and a staffer for state Sen. John Cullerton.

Sam Yingling

Race: Illinois state Representative ( 62nd District )

Website: .

The skinny: Yingling, running unopposed in the primary for his second term, is a native of central Lake County and lives in Round Lake Beach. He is the first openly gay House member from outside metropolitan Chicago. The night after SB10 passed, Yingling proposed to his longtime partner, Lowell Jaffe, at a party in the executive mansion. Republican Rod Drobinski of Wauconda is also running unopposed in the race.

Greg Harris

Race: Illinois state Representative ( 13th District )

Website: .

The skinny: Harris, who was chief co-sponsor of SB10, the legislation that will bring about marriage equality in Illinois beginning in June, 2014, has a district that includes Uptown, Ravenswood, Lincoln Square, North Center and Bowmanville. He was first elected in 2006 and is currently running unopposed in the Democratic primary. Republican Jon Joseph Hartmann is running unopposed as well.

James Crawley

Race: Cook County Circuit Court Judge ( Pamela E. Hill Veal vacancy )

Website: .

The skinny: Crawley, a native of Joliet, attended Loyola University Chicago and received his law degree from St. Louis University, where he started doing legal work on HIV/AIDS issues. He has had his own practice for more than 12 years, and has developed a specialty in food poisoning personal injury cases. Also running for the vacancy are Andrea Michele Buford and Kelly Maloney Kachmarik.

Judy Rice

Race: Cook County Circuit Court Judge ( 7th Subcircuit, W. Taylor vacancy )

Website: .

The skinny: Rice is senior vice president and head of community affairs & economic development for Harris Bank. After receiving her law degree in 1988, Rice began her legal career as an assistant Cook County state's attorney. She then began her 17-year-long career with the City of Chicago, initially as assistant corporation counsel.

Jorge Zavala

Race: U.S. Representative ( 4th District )

Website: .

The skinny: At 26, Zavala is the youngest candidate in Illinois to run for Congress—and he is in a very competitive primary against incumbent U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez. Zavala was raised in the Logan Square neighborhood and attended Resurrection Catholic Academy.

Note: In February, out lesbian Mel Ferrand lost an appeal to have her name reinstated to the ballot. She has been campaigning to fill the 40th district state representative's seat now filled by Jaime Andrade, who replaced Deb Mell. One of Ferrand's opponents successfully challenged her candidacy on the basis of a filing error. Ferrand said March 3 that she is currently evaluating her options.

Also see printable election charts at the link: .

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