Dean Trantalis becomes Fort Lauderdale’s first openly gay mayor

By : Jeremy Williams
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Wilton Manors attorney Dean Trantalis defeated former police chief and current vice mayor Bruce Roberts with 64 percent of the vote March 13 to become Fort Lauderdale’s first openly gay mayor.

Trantalis was also Fort Lauderdale’s first openly gay city commissioner. Trantalis was elected to the city’s District 2 seat in 2003 and served until 2006. Trantalis was re-elected to the seat in a 2013 special election and served up until his mayoral win.

South Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz sent her congratulations to Trantalis in a tweet after Trantalis was declared Fort Lauderdale’s newest mayor.

“Congratulations to Dean Trantalis on making history in Ft. Lauderale tonight! Mayor-Elect Trantalis has a true passion for public service and fighting for civil rights. This is a massive victory for Broward County and the LGBT community nationwide,” Wasserman Schultz tweeted.

Trantalis’ victory comes from what many called Fort Lauderdale’s most heated election ever. In January, Trantalis’ campaign staffer Elijah Manley was arrested for allegedly tampering with campaign signs. Manley, who was immediately removed from the campaign, accused the Fort Lauderdale Police Department of bias saying his arrest was “politically motivated.”

Roberts was also accused by Trantalis of being homophobic during the campaign after a series of ads portraying a puppet version of Trantalis were released by a pro-Roberts PAC. The puppet appeared to depict Trantalis wearing makeup and flamboyant outfits. Roberts said during debates that there was no anti-gay intent.

Trantalis’ former city commissioner seat was filled March 13 by retired administrator for the Broward County Cultural Division Steve Glassman who won his election against former commissioner Tim Smith. Glassman, who is also openly gay, received 61 percent of the vote.

Equality Florida had been hard at work during this election cycle, endorsing both Trantalis and Glassman, and pushing for Fort Lauderdale voters to put both in office. Equality Florida tweeted after Trantalis’ win writing “Congratulations to #FortLauderdale Mayor-elect Dean Trantalis on this historic victory! It’s time to celebrate!”

Equality Florida Senior Political Director Joe Saunders said in a press release, “Equality Florida Action PAC members and supporters have showed up in force in this election. We’ve made tens of thousands of calls to pro-equality voters in the City of Ft. Lauderdale about the importance of voting in this election. We look forward to working with both Dean Trantalis and Steve Glassman as they continue the work to keep Ft. Lauderdale a beacon of inclusion in the South.”

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