City Council chairman and D.C. mayoral hopeful Linda Cropp got two boosts from the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, a GLBT group, Monday night, June 12. First, nine past presidents of the club announced their endorsement of Cropp for mayor. Later that same evening, a majority of Gertrude Stein members joined those past presidents, voting to have the club endorse Cropp.
In an initial round of voting, 177 ballots were cast, according to the club's president, Mario Acosta-Vélez. Cropp led the pack of six candidates with 103 votes, or 58 percent. City Councilmember Adrian Fenty followed with 39 votes, equaling 22 percent of the total. The remaining votes went to Marie Johns (20) and Michael Brown (13). Candidates Artee Milligan and Councilmember Vincent Orange received no votes. Two votes were cast for no endorsement.
A second round of voting gave members a chance to choose between frontrunners Cropp and Fenty, or no endorsement, following Stein Club protocol, in hopes of allowing one candidate to achieve the 60 percent majority needed for the club's endorsement. In this second round, Cropp managed to secure 62 percent -- and the endorsement -- with 106 of 171 votes cast. Fenty earned 41 votes (24 percent), while 24 club members (14 percent) voted for no endorsement.
''I think we ran a very open and effective process. All the candidates had an equal opportunity to address the Stein Club,'' says Acosta-Vélez. ''As the president of the club, I look forward to working with the Cropp campaign as the club's endorsed candidate.''
The club's commitment to Cropp will likely include a donation to her mayoral campaign and advertising the endorsement, says Christopher Dyer, the club's secretary. Dyer points out, however, that it does not mean that all club members will now fall in line for Cropp, adding that he and two other club officers will continue to support Fenty for mayor.
The second big hurdle for mayoral candidates courting the GLBT community will come Aug. 15. That's when the bipartisan Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C. (GLAA) will rate the candidates based on a number of set criteria. They will not, however, be making an endorsement.