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Congratulations to Mark Pocan and Tammy Baldwin
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 08/15/12
Last updated on: 08/15/12
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Mark Pocan.

Congratulations to Wisconsin state Representative Mark Pocan, who on August 14, 2012, won a decisive Democratic primary for a Congressional seat. Wisconsin's District 2 is heavily Democratic and Pocan will face only token Republican opposition in November. He will succeed Tammy Baldwin in the U.S. House of Representatives. She has represented the district for the past 14 years, but is now running for the U.S. Senate. On August 14 Baldwin received the endorsement of the new lesbian super-pac, LPAC.

Pocan, who currently represents the same state legislative district that Baldwin represented before being elected to Congress, is a progressive small business owner. He and his longtime partner, Philip Frank, were married in Toronto in 2006.

Chris Johnson in the Washington Blade reports that Pocan supports repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage, and passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the Uniting American Families Act. As a state lawmaker, he played a key role in pushing through domestic partner benefits for state employees and a domestic partner registry, which enables same-sex couples to have some rights and responsibilities despite the state's constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage.

Pocan was endorsed by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, the Human Rights Campaign, and Fair Wisconsin. Chuck Wolfe, CEO of the Victory Fund, praised Pocan as "an outstanding public servant who will be a strong and authentic voice for LGBT Americans in Congress. It's fitting that as Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin fights to win a historic victory in the Senate, Mark Pocan will follow in her footsteps as one of the most powerful voices for LGBT equality in America."

In November, Baldwin will face former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson, who on August 14, 2012 won the Republican primary against strong challenges from Tea Party conservatives. Most polls have Baldwin and Thompson in a virtual dead heat for the Senate seat.

On August 14, Baldwin received a boost when the pro-lesbian super-pac known as LPAC endorsed her.

As Amanda Terkel reported in the Huffington Post, Baldwin is a natural candidate for the group, which is backed by such celebrities as Billie Jean King and Jane Lynch, to support. She would become the first openly gay person in the Senate if elected in November.

In announcing the endorsement, LPAC's chair and treasurer Sarah Schmidt cited the "important and historic nature" of Baldwin's campaign and described her as "a champion of women's rights, LGBT equality, and fights for poor and middle class Americans. And, she is under attack from anti-women, anti-choice, and anti-equality forces."

LPAC is promising to match all donations to Baldwin up to $50,000. In other words, the group is hoping its effort results in $100,000 for Baldwin.

In other results from the primaries of August 14, Florida elected its first openly gay legislator and two other openly gay candidates for the Florida state legislature qualified for the general election.

Voters in Florida's 113th House district, which encompasses parts of Miami Beach and Miami, elected David Richardson, an openly gay CPA. Because no Republican has registered to run in the general election, Richardson has won the seat.

Joe Saunders easily won the Democratic primary in Orlando's District 49. He will face Republican Marco Peña in the general election in a district that leans heavily Democrat.

Ian Whitley, another openly gay Democrat, was unopposed in his party's primary for District 120, which includes the Florida Keys. He will face Republican Holly Merrill-Raschein in November.

In the video below, Mark Pocan thanks his supporters after learning of his victory Tuesday night.

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