Clinton has 71 percent of delegates she needs; some gay Republicans feeling ‘lost’
Salt Lake City’s popular new lesbian Mayor Jackie Biskupski supported Hillary Clinton during Tuesday’s Democratic caucus in Utah, but U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders took that contest. He also won the Idaho caucuses, helping him regain some of the momentum he lost last week when Clinton scored a five-state sweep. Meanwhile, some LGBT Republicans are beginning to feel “lost,” as their two leading candidates seem unacceptable to most, and the trailing third candidate seems too far behind to catch up except through a fiercely divisive convention. Some are even considering voting for Clinton.
Clinton took Arizona March 22 and, in doing, picked up more delegates there (41) than did Sanders in Utah and Idaho combined (35). But Sanders’ large margins of victory in Utah and Idaho, coupled with winning 40 percent of the vote in Arizona, gave him six more delegates than Clinton at the end of the day. Overall, Clinton now appears to have 71 percent of the 2,383 delegates needed to secure the Democratic presidential nomination; Sanders has 39 percent.
Republican frontrunner Donald Trump continued his controversial march to that party’s nomination Tuesday, picking up all of Arizona’s delegates. But U.S. Senator Ted Cruz won Utah. (The GOP held its caucus in Idaho earlier.)
Going into this week’s contests, Republican Donald Trump had 55 percent of the 1,237 delegates he needs to secure that party’s nomination. His closest competitor, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, had 33 percent. The only other GOP hopeful, Ohio Governor John Kasich, had 12 percent. After Tuesday night, Trump has 60 percent of the delegates he needs. Cruz has 38 percent. Kasich has 12 percent.
Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski told reporters she endorsed Clinton because she thinks the former Senator and former Secretary of State has more experience, more detailed plans, and will be better able to work with Republicans.
“She’s the only one with a proven track record of delivering real results and she’s exactly the kind of leader we need in the White House,” said Biskupski, in a statement about Clinton March 11.
Biskupski hit the trail for Clinton, going door to door in Salt Lake City Saturday. She published an op-ed piece in the Tribune on Saturday that gave Clinton credit for “laying the groundwork for the health care philosophy our nation has increasingly embraced –a principle that no one should be left behind.”
And she singled out that Clinton “declared to the world that the lives of women and girls are critically important and that LGBTQ people are entitled to dignity and respect.
Some news reports indicate that both the Clinton and Sanders campaigns are already turning their focus onto the probability that Trump will carry the GOP mantle. The Wall Street Journal on Friday reported that 22 “liberal groups” have “united behind a campaign to stop Mr. Trump.” It said a “senior Democrat who has spoken with Clinton campaign officials and others in the party” said the strategy involves “enlisting the Muslim, Hispanic and gay communities in an effort to paint Mr. Trump as a divisive force in American politics.”
NGLTF Executive Director Rea Carey was one of 21 individuals and one union that signed onto a March 15 letter organized by Moveon.org, urging “anyone who opposes bigotry” to respond to Trump’s “threat to the America we love” by engaging in “a massive nonviolent mobilization.” The letter said Trump “peddles” attacks on immigrants, “attacks on LGBTQ rights, and more.”
The national gay Republican group Log Cabin Republicans issued a press release March 7, saying it think Trump is “all over the place” on marriage equality.
LCR President Gregory Angelo issued a statement and video saying, “it’s encouraging to know that [Trump] has attended a same-sex wedding, opposes discrimination against gay people in the workplace and told a lesbian reporter that the LGBT community can expect ‘forward motion’ on equality” if Trump is elected president. But he said he is “deeply” concerned that Trump also said she would appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn the 2015 marriage ruling.
Matthew Shuman, head of the Log Cabin chapter in Arizona, said that, “especially since Senator [Marco] Rubio departed the race,” LGBT Republicans “feel lost.”
“Early on, many in the gay republican circles were certainly drawn to a particular candidate, and now, with the existence of only two viable candidates, we’re not that sure,” said Shuman. “Of the two candidates, it’s easy to see that Senator Cruz is firmly against gay marriage and the advancements we’ve made…leaving us with Donald Trump. I suppose the one benefit to Mr. Trump is that he does not care either way on the issue of gay rights, marriage and advancements made.”
Shuman said he’s “heard a lot of people within our community would rather vote for Hillary than Donald Trump,” but he speculates Trump will pick up the votes of some Democrats who won’t vote for Clinton.
Jimmy LaSalvia, founder of the now defunct GOProud gay conservative group, said he’s supporting Clinton. Acknowledging that, for most of his political career he was “the ultimate Republican team player,” LaSalvia penned an essay last December saying he now believes that, “For me and other fiscally conservative, culturally modern voters who care about America’s place in the world, Hillary Clinton is the obvious choice for president in 2016.”
Meanwhile, the campaign focus shifts now to Washington State, whose 118 Democratic delegates are up for grabs in caucuses this Saturday. Democratic caucuses will also take place Saturday in Alaska (20 delegates) and Hawaii (34) before the next big primary for both parties: Wisconsin April 5.
Candidates are also beginning to prepare for a big delegate showdown in New York State April 19. Democrats have 291 delegates at stake; Republicans 95.
Clinton campaign will hold its first national LGBT fundraiser in New York March 30. And gays were a presence last Saturday at a rally in New York to protest Trump. Reports were a favorite chant was, “Donald Trump, go away, racist, sexist, anti-gay.”