Voters across Texas, and Harris County, elected a slate of anti-gay candidates to statewide office on Tuesday and dashed the hopes of nine LGBT candidates, who all lost their races across greater Houston.
Across the state, Republican candidates dominated the ballot box. Greg Abbott (second photo), the anti-gay Republican fighting to keep the state's gay marriage ban, thumped Democrat Wendy Davis in the governor's race. The state legislator inspired LGBT voters as she backed gay marriage and other issues, but she fell short – 59.29% to 38.87%.
GOP state Sen. Dan Patrick, a rabidly anti-gay candidate, downed gay-friendly state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte to win lieutenant governor, 58.18% to 38.66%. Republican Ken Paxton defeated Democrat Sam Houston for Attorney General, 58.85% to 37.97%.
Abbott's margin of victory shrunk in Harris County, where he beat Davis 51.43% to 47.06%. That was similar to Patrick's smaller margin, where he received 50.34% to de Putte's 46.83%.
In Harris County, nine openly gay candidates – along with a gay-friendly candidate with two moms – all lost their races for a host of judicial posts and county offices. They were all endorsed by the Houston GLBT Political Caucus.
LGBT voters hoped lesbian attorney Kim Ogg (photo), a Democrat endorsed by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, would prevail in a tight race for District Attorney. But GOP incumbent Devon Anderson won 53.23% to 46.77%.
Ogg conceded before all of the votes in Harris County were counted and told about 100 cheering supporters at her watch party in downtown Houston that the tightly contested race was evidence that many Houstonians want change in the criminal justice system.
“People are tired of filling our jails with low-level offenders,” Ogg said. “People across this county, they're all saying the same thing: We want change. Change is coming.”
For the past month, experts said the race was the only competitive countywide office for Democrats, with pollsters reporting that it was a dead heat with more than 40 percent of voters undecided.
David Rosen, a gay-friendly Democrat who featured his two moms in a campaign ad for County Treasurer, lost to Republican incumbent Orlando Sanchez, 55.06% to 44.04%. Sanchez won a third term.
The results were no better for LGBT candidates in judicial races.
Democrat Steven Kirkland lost to Republican Michael Landrum, 53.56% to 46.44% for the 113th Civil District Judge post. Kirkland once served as judge of the 213th District Court.
For the 180th Criminal District Judge, Democrat Randy Roll lost to Republican Catherine Evans, 55.70% to 44.30%.
For the 230th Criminal District Judge, Democrat Greg Glass lost to Republican Brad Hart, 54.70% to 45.30%.
For the 263rd Criminal District Judge, Democrat Herb Ritchie lost to Republican Jim Wallace, 54.11% to 45.89%. Ritchie was elected 337th Criminal District Court judge in 2008 and was hoping for a return to elected office.
For Family Court Judge in the 308th District, Democrat Jim Evans lost to Republican James Lombardino 53.11% to 46.89%. Evans was hoping to become the first-ever openly gay family judge in Texas.
For the 334th Civil District Court, Democrat Daryl Moore lost to Republican Grant Dorfman 54.80% to 45.20%.
For County Probate Court Judge No. 3, Democrat Jerry Simoneaux lost to Republican Rory Robert Olsen, 54.04% to 45.06%.
For County Civil Court Judge No. 4, Democrat Damon Crenshaw lost to Republican Roberta Lloyd, 54.20% to 45.80%.
It wasn't all bad for gay Texans on Tuesday. Dallas voters approved a measure to protect LGBT city employees by adding “sexual orientation” and “gender identity and expression” to a list of protected categories in city policies, according to Lone Star Q.