Thursday, March 01, 2007

Kansas: Newspaper missed the point on the Lawrence city election

By Diane Silver

I found today's Lawrence Journal-World article, "Election Upset Unlikely," to be fascinating. I do believe that the story proves that progressive voters -- and particularly pro-gay voters -- can create an upset in the April 3 city election. That, of course, is the opposite of what the headline and story would have you believe.

The story talks about the case of Allen Levine, who once jumped from sixth place in the primary, to win in the general election. And why did Levine make such a huge jump?
Two things that Levine said propelled him to the winner’s circle in the 1995 general election were better campaign financing and coming out in support of the Simply Equal Movement, which promoted ending discrimination against gays and lesbians.
I haven't gone back and looked at Levine's old campaign finance records, but I don't remember him having a huge amount of money. What I do remember, though, is the difference made by intense organizing by the Freedom Coalition, the Simply Equal campaign and all of our allies.

I remember when Levine was sitting in my living room, and we were talking about how we could win protection against discrimination if we could just put him on the City Commission. I remember how our work made the difference.

As we face the April 3 election with two progressive candidates, David Schauner and Carey Maynard-Moody, having finished the primary supposedly too far back to win, it occurs to me that we can once again, let's say, Pull a Levine.

We can rally the progressive and pro-gay community to support candidates who have already publicly committed to voting for the domestic partner registry. However, we can't do that unless you help.

Volunteer to work for these candidates. Give money. Make certain you're registered to vote. Make certain your friends are registered, and above all, on April 3rd, get to the polls!

By the way, the third progressive, Boog Highberger, is considered to be in position to win the general election. However, nothing is ever certain in an election.

You can support Schauner by visiting his web site and mailing him a check. I can't seem to find a site for either Highberger or Maynard-Moody. If anyone has web addresses for them, please let me know!

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