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Gay Vote Helped in Key Races Says Democratic National Committee

Major Surge in Gay and Lesbian Support Shown for Winning Democrats

From Democratic National Committee Reports

gayvote.gif - 4.07 KWashington, D.C. -- Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairs Steve Grossman and Governor Roy Romer applauded high gay and lesbian voter turnout as a significant factor for Democratic victories in last week's elections. They cited strong outreach efforts by the Democratic Party and individual candidates who support issues of concern to gays and lesbians as a key to success for Democrats.

According to Voter News Service (VNS) data, in major races for Democrats around the country, gay men and lesbians made up as much as 5% of the vote, with Democratic candidates earning as much as three-quarters of the gay vote in some contests.

According to VNS, of voting gays and lesbians, 77% supported Representative Charles Schumer for New York Senate, 73% supported Gray Davis for Governor of California, and 68% supported Senator Barbara Boxer's re-election. All three candidates are Democrats.

"These results reminded us of what we already knew," said DNC National Chair Steve Grossman. "Gay men and lesbians are a very powerful voting block and grassroots organizing force. When Democratic candidates are actively involved in the struggles of their constituents and committed to the Democratic platform of equality and non-discrimination for gays and lesbians, community members lend their support and their votes."

Democrats have worked increasingly in recent years to support issues of concern to gays and lesbians and to engage them on the campaign trail. This year more than ever before, candidates specifically reached out to gay and lesbian voters through speaking appearances, campaign literature, print media and phone and mail programs.

dncofficers.jpg - 7.44 K DNC General Chairman Roy Romer (left) and National Chairman Steve Grossman "The Democratic Party and the vast number of Democratic candidates seek inclusion of gays and lesbians in the electoral process. This is very clear in the relationships shared between candidates and the gay and lesbian community and in their significant turnout and support for Democrats," said DNC General Chair, Governor Roy Romer.

"It is important to remember that the number of gay and lesbian voters is probably even greater than VNS reports. These numbers represent a self-selected category of voters. In other words, it only measures the number of people willing to discuss their sexuality on a survey at a public polling place," said Mark Spengler, DNC Director of Gay and Lesbian Outreach.

Democratic candidates and the Democratic Party have a long history of supporting employment non-discrimination for gays and lesbians, hate crimes legislation, and advances in HIV and AIDS treatment and prevention. Last summer when extremist House Republicans attempted to repeal President Clinton's Executive Order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in the federal civilian workforce, 91% of Congressional Democrats voted against the repeal.

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