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By Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
LANSING – A special election will be held on March 14 to fill the vacant state Senate seat that was created when pro-equality candidate Virg Bernero won his race for Mayor of Lansing.
Bernero’s former district, the twenty-third, covers Ingham County.
Two Republicans and three Democrats have filed to run in the primary for the special election, which will take place on Feb. 21. The Republicans are Vince Green and John Findlay; the Democrats are Anthony J. Benavides, State Representative Gretchen Whitmer, and Melissa Sue Robinson, a transgender woman who due to election law will also be listed as Charles Edward Staelens, Jr. on the ballot.
Chris Swope, a member of LAHR-PAC’s board and the newly elected Lansing City Clerk, said that to the best of his knowledge none of the candidates have a record of being against LGBT rights.
He said of Whitmer, “She has been a great Representative and very supportive of LGBT issues, and I’m personally supporting her.”
Sean Kosofsky, a member of the board of Triangle Pride PAC, said that his organization hasn’t surveyed the candidates yet. Michigan Pride PAC won’t meet until after the primary, but may have an endorsement in time for the special election.
However, “Gretchen Whitmer has won our endorsement before,” Kosofsky said.
LAHR-PAC, the political action committee of the Lansing Association for Human Rights, has surveyed the candidates and has issued candidate ratings. Two candidates, Democrat Anthony Benavides and Republican Vince Green, did not respond to the LAHR-PAC survey. Two candidates, Democrats Melissa Sue Robinson and Gretchen Whitmer, were rated “Very Positive,” and John Findlay, the remaining Republican, was rated “Somewhat Positive.”
Michigan Equality has not given any endorsements in the primary.
Help elect a pro-equality candidate to replace Virg Bernero in Michigan’s 23rd District. The following two candidates were rated “Very Positive” by LAHR-PAC, and will need volunteers and contributions for both the primary and the special election.
Democrat Melissa Sue Robinson: Call 517-371-1103
Democratic state Representative Gretchen Whitmer: Visit http://www.gretchenwhitmer.com or call 517-372-6454.
To learn more about the importance of electing pro-equality candidates, visit LAHR-PAC at http://www.lahronline.org/activities/political_action.asp, Triangle Pride PAC at http://www.pride-pac.org, or Michigan Equality at http://michiganequality.org.