Saturday, February 20, 2010

LGBT Community Concerned About Ellsworth Candidacy

Let the race begin!

Congressman Brad Ellsworth announced Friday that he is seeking the United States Senate seat soon to be vacated by Evan Bayh. Bayh, who is not running for re-election, is not making many friends as he goes out the door (although he now says he’s open to reconciliation on the health care bill). That’s another blog topic for another day.

The Indianapolis Star reported yesterday that Ellsworth cannot be named the Democratic Party candidate until after the May primary under state law. That means that the Indiana Democratic Central Committee, the entity that will determine who the Democratic candidate for Senate will be, cannot vote to place Ellsworth or anyone else on the ballot until then. That timetable gives a lot of time for politicking, and that seems to be beginning in earnest.

State Senator Vi Simpson pulled her name from the running on Friday. Second District Rep. Joe Donnelly had previously pulled his name out. Others out there may soon be pulling out because it is well-known by his comments that Dan Parker, Indiana Democratic Party Chair, wishes for this voting to go smoothly and unanimously in favor of the nominee. After talking with Indiana Stonewall Democrats President Douglas Meagher, I think you can count out the Stonewalls voting for Ellsworth as a candidate for Senate unless he changes his views on LGBT issues.

While CLEARLY NOT issuing an ultimatum, Meagher said that he needs some assurance that Congressman Ellsworth is at least willing to work on his anti-LGBT views before Meagher can, in good conscience, vote for him to be the Senatorial candidate. Meagher is one of the 32 individuals that will vote to put a name on the ballot sometime after the May Primary.

Meagher said he understands that Ellsworth may not be the best friend the LGBT community will ever have, but he has to at some basic level show movement towards support of of issues the Stonewalls care about.

According to Meagher, the Indiana Stonewall Democrats are working the phones to set up a meeting with Ellsworth, so there's lots of time before the primary to see what happens on this story. Stay tuned.

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