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Road to a Democratic House runs through California

Businessman John Cox is the Republican candidate for California governor; he faces Gavin Newsom in November. Photo by Tommy Lee Kreger; Courtesy Wikimedia

Continued from Page 26 Democratic Party and frankly, moderate Republicans – are pretty clear on where they stand on the divisive hateful politics of the Trump-Pence administration. So I think [having Cox in] could be a motivating factor to pro-equality voters,” Garrett-Pate told the Los Angeles Blade. “This is now a referendum on where we stand on the Trump-Pence administration.” He has a different take on the recall of the state senator. “It is extremely unfortunate that we lost a pro-equality champion in Josh Newman,” Garrett-Pate noted. “That being said, I don’t think you can extrapolate one Senate district to the entire state. We saw across the state pro-equality candidates and candidates who support investment in

infrastructure, among many other things, do well in their primaries. I think my friend from San Diego (DeMaio) is getting a little ahead of himself.” But asserting that the gas tax hurts working families has been considered a non-partisan issue. “What also hurts working families is not being able to drive on California roads and bridges because they’re falling apart,” he said. “Look, the Republican Party is now in third party status in the state of California so I’m really not buying this whole argument that that there is going to be a Red Wave (created by the gas tax). And if that is the assumption that forces who votes against LGBTQ equality everyday want to make—then that’s a mistake on their part but one that I’ll be happy to watch them make as we continue to fight to make sure that our candidates end up in office in November.”

Garrett-Pate also noted the intense Equality California get-out-the-vote effort for Harley Rouda, who has a 73-vote lead over another viable Democrat, Hans Keirstead, in the race for the second spot in the 48th CD. The victor will face a very weakened antiLGBT Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher who only managed to bring in 30.3% of the votes in a district he’s represented since 1989. The June 5 primaries saw a number of LGBT candidates and allies advance. State Sen. Ricardo Lara is in the top two for California Insurance Commissioner. If elected, Lara will become California’s first LGBTQ statewide elected official and the only LGBTQ person of color elected to statewide office in the nation. Other LGBT candidates in races for the California state legislature include: Joy Silver (SD-28), Sonia Aery (AD-3), Jackie

Smith (AD-6), and Sunday Gover (AD-77). There is particular excitement around out married bisexual Katie Hill who squeaked into the second spot in CD 25 to challenge anti-LGBT Republican incumbent Steve Knight, son of notoriously anti-gay Pete Knight, author of Prop 22, known as the Knight Initiative. If elected, she would become California’s first openly LGBT female member of Congress, joining Rep. Mark Takano. Clinton carried the district by six percentage points in 2016, making it a top target for both national parties this year. “Time’s up on Congressman Knight’s years of fighting against equality and working to protect those who would discriminate against LGBTQ Californians,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “Yesterday, voters embraced Katie Hill’s values of inclusion and equality because they know she’ll bring Democrats and Republicans together and fight for a government that’s accountable to real people.” Ari Gutierrez, co-founder of Latino Equality Alliance, is not as sanguine as others about the matchup between Newsom and Cox. “I don’t look forward to a Republican challenge in the governor’s race. I think the 2016 election taught us not to be overconfident in the votes or the outcome. We have to work for every win,” Gutierrez told the LA Blade. “We are very excited that Sen. Ricardo Lara finished in the top two for Insurance Commissioner! However, like in the governor’s race, I don’t look forward to the Republican challenge. We will have to work hard for a win in that race.” Gutierrez is also concerned about the election process. She was one of the 118,000 voters whose names were missing from the rolls. “I have voted in every election in Los Angeles County for the last 30 years—yet my name was not listed on the voter rolls! It required a special ‘provisional’ ballot for me to vote that had to be worked out with the poll place supervisors,” she said. “There were several individuals in the same situation at my polling place while I was there and I’ve heard similar scenarios from my family and friends. One Facebook post indicated Spanish speaking voters whose names were not on the voter rolls left without voting because the process could not be explained to them.  So that is a big problem especially if it is determined that Latino voters were disproportionally affected by this snafu.”

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