Gray, Wells Top LGBT Activist Rankings
Vince Gray and Tommy Wells are the most gay-friendly candidates in the District's crowded mayoral field, according to new candidate ratings from the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance.
Using an elaborate calculus based on candidate records and questionnaires that cover topics from medical marijuana restrictions to eased liquor license requirements, eight activists met Tuesday for a process that ended with Gray receiving a maximum +10 on a scale of -10 to +10.
"Our few differences were swamped by [Gray's] total record of accomplishment," a press release from the group reads. Gray also had the highest mayoral candidate score in the 2010 race, when he received +8.5 to Adrian Fenty's +4.
The ratings are comparatively harsh to Jack Evans, who comes in third with +8 despite a history of pro-gay legislation. Blame it on the "championship point," an extra boost candidates can get for leading on a recent issue that GLAA president Rick Rosendall says adds an element of "What have you done for me lately?" to the scores.
"Lately, he hasn’t really taken the lead on a bill for us," Rosendall says. That extra point also makes it difficult for challenger candidates to score as high as their incumbent opponents.
Busboys & Poets owner Andy Shallal scored high for a non-incumbent at +6, thanks in part to gay-friendly programming at his restaurants. Muriel Bowser followed with +5.5 points, while Reta Lewis received +4.5.
With White House party crasher Carlos Allen not returning a questionnaire, Vincent Orange scored the lowest out of the mayoral candidates who did with +3, based in part on his curt responses to GLAA's questionnaire.
“He didn’t give any substance," Rosendall says. "He just said 'Yes, yes, yes,' to everything he answered."
In the Ward 1 race, incumbent Jim Graham received +7.5, with the group listing his work on a bill increasing funding for LGBT youth in homeless shelters as one of the reasons. Challenger Brianne Nadeau earned +5.
Former Wells chief of staff Charles Allen handily outscored rival Darrel Thompson in the Ward 6 race, +8.5 to +2.
"Allen has a really solid questionnaire response, and not so much with Thompson," Rosendall says.
At-Large candidate Nate Bennett-Fleming was the only challenger candidate to score higher than an incumbent, receiving +7 to current councilmember Anita Bonds' +6.
Current D.C. Council chairman Phil Mendelson isn't facing much opposition so far from sole challenger Calvin Gurley, but just in case, it looks like he's got GLAA on his side. The group gave him the maximum +10, calling him "our champion on the council."
Photo by Darrow Montgomery