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Laverne Cox, Dustin Lance Black and Jason Collins at Chicago House event Laverne Cox, Dustin Lance Black and Jason Collins at Chicago House event
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ELECTIONS: LGBTs battle locally--and make gains
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
2012-11-07

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LGBT candidates battled in races throughout the city and beyond, and several will be returning to office—or going for the first time.

State House

In one of the most-watched races among LGBT Illinoisans, Sam Yingling has become the first openly gay rep elected outside of Chicago, taking the 62nd District Seat. Yingling bested Republican Sandy Cole with 54 percent of the Lake County vote.

Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda, called the win "extraordinary."

"Many people throughout the state believe that LGBT individuals live only on the North side of Chicago, but LGBT individuals live and work in every community throughout Illinois," said Martinez in a statement. "This shows that constituents in Illinois are no longer concerned with the sexual orientation of their representative, but the capability of the individual. Mr. Yingling is a true representative of his constituents and the 62nd district will be well served by his leadership and representation."

Openly gay Rep. Deb Mell carried a strong leader over Republican challenger Antoinette "Toni" Puccio-Johnson, taking 81 percent of the Chicago vote with 77 percent of precincts reporting.

Reps. Greg Harris (13th District) and Kelly Cassidy (14th)—two openly gay lawmakers behind Illinois' marriage-equality bill—ran unopposed. Reps. Sara Feigenholtz and Ann Williams, two allies, were also unchallenged.

State Senate

Democrat Heather Steans (7th), largely seen as an LGBT ally, ran unopposed. Daniel Biss (9th Dist.), who pledged strong LGBT support, won his race with 66 percent of the vote, with 159 of 168 precincts reported.

Congress

Democrats trumped Republicans in three of the state's most closely watched Congressional races.

Tammy Duckworth, a favorite among many local LGBTs, is headed to Congress. Duckworth beat Republican incumbent Joe Walsh with 51 percent of the vote in DuPage County and 55 percent of the vote in Cook County, with all but eight precincts reporting.

Democrat Bill Foster defeated Judy Biggert in another highly contested race, this time for the 11th Dist. seat. Foster carried the vote in Kane, Will, Kendall and DuPage Counties, all four of the counties that make up his district.

Democrat Brad Schneider narrowly beat Republican Robert Dold in their race for the 10th Dist. seat.

Ninth Dist. Rep. Jan Schakowsky easily won in her race to maintain her 9th Dist. seat, as did Mike Quigley (5th) and Jesse Jackson Jr. (2nd). Jackson did not actively campaign, as he has been battling clinical issues.

Judicial races

Judge Andrea Schleifer, another out gay candidate, bested Republican James Pieczonka for the Cook County 12th Subcircuit Rochford vacancy. Schleifer had carried 53 percent of the vote with 247 of 252 precincts reporting.

John Dalton became the first openly gay judge elected outside of Chicago, defeating Republican John Waters in the race for the 16th Circuit seat in Kane County. Dalton pulled in 54 percent of the vote.

John Ehrlich, an openly gay judicial candidate, ran unopposed for the Cook County 8th Subcircuit Cole vacancy.

Other races

Out gay Democratic candidate for Sangamon County Auditor Chris Boyster lost his race to Republican Paul Palazzo, who took 64 percent of the vote.

Debra Shore, the out gay commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, led a pack of eight in both city and Cook County elections and will be staying in office.


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