WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund today announced it has endorsed Ed Oakley, a Democrat, in his race to become the next mayor of Dallas, Texas. The three-term Dallas City Councilman would become the first openly gay mayor of one of the largest U.S. cities, in a race that could cost more than $2 million. The election will be held May 12, with a likely runoff set for June 9 featuring the top two vote-getters. Victory Fund President and CEO Chuck Wolfe said Oakley's endorsement is a milestone for the group and for the entire LGBT community; "Ed embodies the courage and commitment we all want in our public officials, and that shows in the strong support he is getting from both Republicans and Democrats. It's an enormous achievement that an openly gay man is a serious contender to be elected mayor in one of America's 10 biggest cities. We are especially proud of this endorsement."
Oakley promises his campaign will be broad-based, reaching out to all parts of the city and all constituencies. "We're going to the voters by knocking on as many doors in Dallas as possible. I want to earn their respect and vote based on my ability to lead our city,"
The group provides strategic, technical and financial support to openly LGBT candidates and officials. Victory is the nation's largest LGBT political action committee and one of the nation's largest non-connected PACs. In 16 years, Victory has helped the number of openly LGBT officials grow from 49 to more than 350. Oakley received Victory's endorsement in his 2001 and 2003 council races as part of the Victory Fund's efforts to build a team of qualified openly LGBT elected officials whose experience will enable them to seek higher office.
Other Victory endorsees have fared well in recent area elections. Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez was elected in 2005, becoming the first woman, first Latina and first open lesbian to hold that post. In 2006, endorsee Gary Fitzsimmons was elected Dallas County District Clerk. Eighteen openly gay mayors currently serve in the U.S., including the mayors of Providence, R.I., North Miami Beach, Fla., Palm Springs, Calif., and Cambridge, Mass. Six other candidates received endorsements as well.
- Councilwoman Elena Guajardo, in a re-election bid to the San Antonio, Texas, City Council
- Jeff Dion, for a seat on the Price William County, Va., Board of Supervisors
- Dan Anders, who is running for a seat on the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas
- Steve Howard, in his race to become mayor of Rutland, Vt.
- James Cappleman, for a seat on the Board of Alderman in Chicago, Ill.
- John Heilman, for reelection to the West Hollywood, Calif., City Council
The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund's endorsement brings the attention of a national network of donors committed to increasing the number of openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender public officials at federal, state and local levels of government.