Orlando’s two candidates who are members of the LGBT community fared very differently in the Aug. 14 primary race.
Joe Saunders, in his bid to become the Democratic candidate for State Representative, enjoyed a decisive win by earning 65% of the vote. If elected in November, Saunders would become Florida’s first openly gay state representative.
In November, Saunders will face off against former UCF student body president and Republican Marco Pena. Saunders is a former field director for Equality Florida who’s been endorsed by police, firefighters and teachers unions, as well as Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and City Commissioner Patty Sheehan.
Gina Duncan, who faced incumbent Ted Edwards for Orange County Commission seat District 5, lost in a 40-60 split. Had Duncan unseated Edwards, she would have been one of the first transgender candidates elected to public office in a major city.
Duncan thanked a crowd of about 150 supporters at her Campaign Victory Party, election night at The Abbey downtown.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã…”We sent a message to Ted Edwards that it’s time to bring government back to the people,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã‚Â a tearful Duncan said.
She was sunburned from standing at the corner of Virginia and Mills, campaigning in extreme weatherÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Âfirst brutal sun then a rainstormÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Âall day long.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã…”When I first talked about seeking this office people told me that it couldn’t be done and with 40% of the vote today, I think we proved that it can be done and it will be done at sometime in the future,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã‚Â Duncan said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã…”I think we opened the door and I know at sometime in the future a transgender candidate will win office in Florida.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã‚Â
See Joe Saunders’ victory speech: