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ELECTIONS 2016 LGBTs in the mix
2016-03-09

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The next primary elections, to be held March 15, feature a number of openly gay and lesbian candidates. The following individuals have publicly stated that they are members of the LGBT community and were on the ballot as of late February.

—Kelly Cassidy

Race: Illinois state Representative ( 14th District )

Website: RepCassidy.com .

The skinny: Cassidy, who defeated another lesbian candidate, Paula Basta, in March 2014, is this time running unopposed in the Democratic primary—and she has no Republican challenger, either.

—Sam Yingling

Race: Illinois state Representative ( 62nd District )

Website: SamYingling.com .

The skinny: What's old is new again. Yingling is running unopposed in the primary for his third term. He is the first openly gay House member from outside metropolitan Chicago. And Republican Rod Drobinski of Wauconda is, again, Yingling's opponent for the general election; Yingling prevailed in 2014.

—Greg Harris

Race: Illinois state Representative ( 13th District )

Website: GregHarris.org .

The skinny: Harris—who was chief co-sponsor of SB10, the legislation that brought about marriage equality in Illinois—has a district that includes several North Side neighborhoods. He was first elected in 2006 and, like Cassidy, is currently running unopposed, ensuring his re-election.

—Jacob Meister

Race: Cook County Circuit Court Clerk

Website: JacobMeister.com .

Meister has a battle in unseating longtime ( and controversial ) clerk Dorothy Brown, and he also has Ald. Michelle Harris as a competitor. However, he was received several endorsements, including from the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago NOW PAC and a large coalition of Cook County-area Latino elected officials. The winner in the Democratic primary will face Diane Shapiro, Republican committeeman of Chicago's 46th Ward, in the November general election.

—Ed Underhill

Race: Judge ( Cook-6th Subcircuit-"A" vacancy )

Website: EdUnderhillForJudge.com

The skinny: The primary is definitely the race that matters, as there are no Republican adversaries in the general election. Underhill—who lives with his husband, Liam, and their dog, Finn—is running against Anna Loftus and Carlos Claudio. Underhill is a trial attorney with 30 years of experience, and has been a Bucktown homeowner for the past 15 years.

—Deidre Baumann

Race: Judge ( Cook Circuit-Palmer Vacancy )

Website: DeidreBaumannForJudge.com

The skinny: Baumann finds herself in a very competitive race, with three other primary candidates ( Pat Heneghan, Susana Ortiz and Camela Gardner ). ( Like with Underhill, there is no Republican contender for the general election. ) Baumann has 23 years representing people against the government and large corporations, and was lead counsel in the Burr Oak Cemetery litigation.


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