Progressive candidate wins Asheville council seat

Young progressive defeated in Durham

by Matt Comer  Editor  editor@goqnotes.com
Published: November 3, 2009 in News

Progressive candidates across North Carolina led in municipal elections on Tuesday with a key LGBT-friendly candidate claiming victory in Asheville.

Among several other local races, Q-Notes paid close attention to city council races in Asheville and Durham.

Asheville
Citizen journalist/blogger-turned-politician Gordon Smith claimed second place in his campaign for an at-large seat on the Asheville City Council. In his life as a blogger and party activist, Smith has been outspoken in his support of LGBT equality within the state of North Carolina.

During his campaign, Smith supported offering domestic partner benefits for LGBT Asheville city employees.

“The gay and lesbian citizens of Asheville deserve equal recognition and equal benefits,” Smith wrote in July. “To deny these benefits is to relegate gay and lesbian couples to second-class status. We all know that Asheville is a gay-friendly city, and our city government ought to reflect our commitment to honoring the civil rights of all our citizens.”

With 34 of 37 precincts reporting at 9:19 p.m. Smith had garnered a little over 18 percent of the vote, and came in second for three open seats on the city council.

Anti-gay incumbent City Councilman Carl Mumpower was not reelected to another term. He garnered almost 14 percent of the vote and came in fourth place.

Durham
Young progressive Donald Hughes, a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, lost his challenge against incumbent Durham City Councilwoman Cora Cole-McFadden on Tuesday.

With 57 of 58 precincts reporting, Hughes garnered 24 percent of the vote. LGBT-friendly Cole-McFadden garnered 76 percent.

Hughes garnered nearly18 percent of the vote in his October primary race against Cole-McFadden, who captured 69 percent.

Hughes had come under fire from activists in Durham after he seemingly switched his position on marriage equality for same-sex couples.

According to activist Joshua Lee Weaver, Hughes had indicated his full support of a Durham City Council resolution on marriage equality. But at a Young Democrats forum days later, Hughes said “the law as it currently stands is the one we should abide by” until state leaders change it.

Hughes later clarified his remarks and said said the issue of marriage was outside of the authority of the city council. He reiterated his support for LGBT equality.

“I have and will continue to articulate my opposition to changing the NC State Constitution (NC Defense of Marriage Act) to deny any citizens their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” he wrote on a local blog and told Q-Notes.

nextissue: Be sure to pick up the next print issue of Q-Notes on Nov. 14 or head back to www.q-notes.com for more local and national LGBT election news and analysis.