Delano Hunter

NOM’s Favorite DC Council Candidate Changes Mind on Marriage Equality Law

In 2010, Right Wing Watch reported that the National Organization for Marriage was pouring tens of thousands of dollars into D.C.’s Ward 5 city council race in an effort to punish one of the proponents of the District’s 2009 marriage equality law. The beneficiary of NOM’s largesse was Delano Hunter, a candidate who supported putting a referendum to undo the new marriage equality bill on the ballot. Despite NOM’s efforts, Hunter lost fairly badly to incumbent Harry Thomas.

Now, Thomas has been forced to resign after being charged with embezzling more than $350,000 in city funds, and Hunter is again angling for the Ward 5 seat. But, perhaps recognizing that opposition to gay rights is not a winning issue, Hunter has changed his tune on marriage equality, saying he would leave DC’s marriage law as it is, reports Lou Chibbaro of The Washington Blade:

An outspoken advocate for placing D.C.’s same-sex marriage law on the ballot in a voter referendum in 2010 says he no longer holds that view and will express “respect” for the law as a candidate for the City Council in a special election this spring.


Civic activist Delano Hunter has announced plans to run for the Ward 5 Council seat that became vacant last week when incumbent Harry Thomas, a Democrat, resigned after pleading guilty to federal theft and tax evasion charges.


“I do not seek to overturn the Marriage Equality Act when elected,” Hunter told the Blade in a statement released on Tuesday.


“I will, however, continue to establish working relationships within the LGBT community to focus on issues that affect the quality of life for all residents of the District of Columbia,” he said.

NOM’s Favorite DC Council Candidate Waiting in the Wings

In 2010, the National Organization for Marriage tried to make good on its pledge to punish pro-marriage-equality political leaders in the District of Columbia by pouring money into the election for the Ward 5 seat on the DC council.  As we reported then, NOM paid tens of thousands of dollars for direct mail, robocalls, and racially divisive flyers attacking incumbent councilmember Harry Thomas for his pro-equality vote and supporting Delano Hunter, who according one NOM 2010 flyer “shares our values.”

In spite of NOM’s help, Hunter lost to Thomas in the Democratic primary, ending up with 19 percent of the vote to Thomas’s 62 percent.  That was good enough to put Hunter in second place. And now, with Thomas embroiled in scandal and reportedly planning to resign as part of a plea deal, Hunter is eager to make another run for the Council.  Washington City Paper’s “Loose Lips” column reports:

It’s certainly my intention to run again if the seat opens up,” says Delano Hunter, who ran against Thomas last year and isn’t as gun-shy. Hunter says you won’t hear serious candidates criticize Thomas, because no one wants to be seen as kicking a man while he’s down.

“You have to be careful,” he says, comparing the current low-key politicking that’s going on in the ward to a “cold war” atmosphere.

That being said, Hunter says his team of supporters are eager to get started on another campaign “at a moment’s notice.”

“We really feel like this is our moment,” says Hunter.

It’s worth remembering that last time around, Hunter’s “team of supporters” included anti-gay leaders like Bishop Harry Jackson and NOM’s Brian Brown, who bragged about forming a PAC to funnel money from “white suburban Christian Republicans to help elect pro-marriage and pro-life black Democrats in the District of Columbia.” 

NOM Loses Big in DC

We noted a few days ago that the National Organization for Marriage was desperately trying to get something of value from the money it was pouring into DC elections. Now we know what they got: not much.

NOM-supported mayoral candidate Leo Alexander got less than one percent of the vote. And Ward 5 candidate Delano Hunter, the primary beneficiary of NOM’s spending, ended up with only 20 percent in his bid to unseat Councilmember Harry “Tommy” Thomas. That translates into 3,091 votes with 16 of 18 Ward 5 precincts reporting.
 
During the campaign, Hunter bristled when it was suggested that NOM was bankrolling him, saying he’d received only $450 from the group. That may have been true in terms of direct contributions, but NOM’s Eight-day Pre-primary report filed with the DC Board of Elections and Ethics shows that even before the final week of the campaign NOM had spent nearly $1000 for robo-calls on Hunter’s behalf, nearly $15,000 for production and distribution of flyers, nearly $15,000 for direct mail, and more than $1500 for pro-Hunter palm cards.  
 
The same pre-primary report shows that NOM gave $36,950 to Bob King in August for production and distribution of flyers targeting every elected DC official running for office who had supported marriage equality. That comes on top of almost $80,000 NOM reported paying King in July and more than $60,000 reported on a June finance report.

 

NOM: Desperate in DC

As we’ve been reporting, the National Organization for Marriage has been pumping money into Washington D.C.’s Democratic Party primaries in order to make good on its threat to punish elected officials who supported the District’s marriage equality law. With NOM’s mayoral candidate Leo Alexander barely registering in the polls (one percent among likely voters), and its candidate for the at-large council seat knocked off the ballot for failing to collect sufficient valid signatures, NOM’s last best hope seems to be helping Ward 5 council candidate Delano Hunter make a respectable showing this Tuesday, September 14. 

To make that happen, NOM is pouring its resources into attacks on Ward 5 Councilmember Harry ‘Tommy’ Thomas. We recently noted the chutzpah it took for NOM, which has bragged about efforts to get “white suburban Christian Republicans”  to fund anti-equality candidates in DC, to send voters a flyer complaining about a fictional flood of “outside” money from San Francisco and New York supposedly attacking Hunter.
 
NOM’s latest flyer is even worse. It seems calculated for maximum divisiveness, featuring a rich, snooty, white guy looking down his nose at voters with claims that “DC Elites” are disrespecting voters in majority-Black Ward 5 by preventing a referendum on marriage equality. The flyer’s theme fits with comments by Bishop Harry Jackson, who has worked tirelessly to inflame racial divisions over the issue.
 
Hunter, who lost badly to Thomas in a recent straw poll of Ward 5 Democrats, didn’t help himself during a Friday debate on “The Politics Hour,” a local public radio show. He's the only one of four candidates who does not support marriage equality and had a hard time giving a clear answer about his position. By the end of the show he was pushed into promising that if elected he wouldn’t try to change the law. So what exactly is NOM hoping to get from its six-figure investment in DC’s elections? I guess an Election Day margin between Thomas and Hunter that will allow NOM leaders to come up with some face-saving spin about their failed efforts to start the “war” that Jackson promised marriage equality would bring to D.C.:
 
 

NOM's Capital Chutzpah

The National Organization for Marriage, which has been pouring money into District of Columbia elections to punish officials who supported DC’s  new marriage equality law, has sent voters in the city’s Ward 5 a lurid campaign piece supporting an anti-marriage-equality candidate (see below) and warning that “Outside Special Interests are Targeting Delano Hunter.” 

Thousands of dollars from homosexual activists outside Ward 5 are attacking Delano Hunter because he supports our right to vote on whether the District legalizes ‘gay marriage.’
 
Radical, gay marriage activists are flooding Ward 5 with money to defeat Delano Hunter, not because they don’t like his plan to improve our community, but only because he supports the Biblical definition of marriage.
 
The outside gay activists don’t care about our right to home rule and right to vote on gay marriage. They only care about their agenda to redefine marriage. Don’t let them target Delano Hunter.
 
Of course, flooding states with “outside special interest” money is NOM’s own modus operandi.
 
In July, we noted that NOM’s Brian Brown was bragging about the formation of the DC Values PAC:
 
Bishop Jackson's heroic leadership has lead to something no one has ever seen before: a coalition of black Democrats leaders and white suburban Christian Republicans to help elect pro-marriage and pro-life black Democrats in the District of Columbia. 
 
Outside money, anyone? The August 10 filing for the DC Values PAC at the DC Office of Campaign Finance showed that the PAC had raised $3,275 – of which $2,500 was from outside the District of Columbia, including $1000 from Maryland-based “Harry Jackson Jr. Enterprises Inc.”
 
NOM itself reported making $82,446.40 in independent expenditures in July, with all but $4000 of that going to King & Associates for production and distribution of flyers attacking the mayor and councilmembers who had voted for marriage equality legislation. (A campaign finance report from June had shown another $60,900 going to King & Associates, which is run by Ward 5 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Bob King.) 
 
In addition, NOM donated more than 85 percent of the income reported by Stand4Marriage DC’s initiative effort in its July 31 filing - $40,000 out of $46,122. In an intriguing twist, almost every single contributor in that report is listed as living in DC, even though the zip codes and city names make it clear that many are from around the country. Among the reported contributors are those residing in Nashville, DC; San Diego, DC; and Tucson, DC.
 
Hunter is challenging incumbent Councilmember Harry Thomas, whose support for marriage equality legislation generated some heated opposition and made him a top NOM target. In an August 23 straw poll held by the Ward 5 Democrats, Thomas handily defeated Hunter, 613 to 239, with two other candidates far behind. The Democratic primary will be held September 14.

NOM's Capital Chutzpah

The National Organization for Marriage, which has been pouring money into District of Columbia elections to punish officials who supported DC’s  new marriage equality law, has sent voters in the city’s Ward 5 a lurid campaign piece supporting an anti-marriage-equality candidate (see below) and warning that “Outside Special Interests are Targeting Delano Hunter.” 

Thousands of dollars from homosexual activists outside Ward 5 are attacking Delano Hunter because he supports our right to vote on whether the District legalizes ‘gay marriage.’
 
Radical, gay marriage activists are flooding Ward 5 with money to defeat Delano Hunter, not because they don’t like his plan to improve our community, but only because he supports the Biblical definition of marriage.
 
The outside gay activists don’t care about our right to home rule and right to vote on gay marriage. They only care about their agenda to redefine marriage. Don’t let them target Delano Hunter.
 
Of course, flooding states with “outside special interest” money is NOM’s own modus operandi.
 
In July, we noted that NOM’s Brian Brown was bragging about the formation of the DC Values PAC:
 
Bishop Jackson's heroic leadership has lead to something no one has ever seen before: a coalition of black Democrats leaders and white suburban Christian Republicans to help elect pro-marriage and pro-life black Democrats in the District of Columbia. 
 
Outside money, anyone? The August 10 filing for the DC Values PAC at the DC Office of Campaign Finance showed that the PAC had raised $3,275 – of which $2,500 was from outside the District of Columbia, including $1000 from Maryland-based “Harry Jackson Jr. Enterprises Inc.”
 
NOM itself reported making $82,446.40 in independent expenditures in July, with all but $4000 of that going to King & Associates for production and distribution of flyers attacking the mayor and councilmembers who had voted for marriage equality legislation. (A campaign finance report from June had shown another $60,900 going to King & Associates, which is run by Ward 5 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Bob King.) 
 
In addition, NOM donated more than 85 percent of the income reported by Stand4Marriage DC’s initiative effort in its July 31 filing - $40,000 out of $46,122. In an intriguing twist, almost every single contributor in that report is listed as living in DC, even though the zip codes and city names make it clear that many are from around the country. Among the reported contributors are those residing in Nashville, DC; San Diego, DC; and Tucson, DC.
 
Hunter is challenging incumbent Councilmember Harry Thomas, whose support for marriage equality legislation generated some heated opposition and made him a top NOM target. In an August 23 straw poll held by the Ward 5 Democrats, Thomas handily defeated Hunter, 613 to 239, with two other candidates far behind. The Democratic primary will be held September 14.

NOM pouring $ into DC elections

We noted last month that flyers sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage had been appearing on front doors around the District of Columbia. The flyers urged people to vote against every elected official who supported marriage equality in DC and is up for reelection this year.

NOM, which has been pouring money into campaigns around the country to punish pro-equality elected officials, was particularly stung by marriage equality’s victory in the nation’s capital. It has been working to overturn that victory in the courts, and it’s now clear just how much NOM is invested in trying to take down at least one pro-equality elected official.  
 
DC’s Gay & Lesbian Activist Alliance has noted a recent campaign finance report in which NOM reported paying outspoken anti-marriage-equality activist Bob King more than $60,000 for distribution of those flyers.  King is an elected Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in DC’s Ward 5, where anti-marriage-equality rhetoric was strident. Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr. cast what was almost certainly the riskiest pro-equality vote on the DC Council.  NOM and local anti-gay activists are trying hard to make an example of Thomas, who narrowly won a straw poll at Saturday’s DC Democratic State Convention. Thomas defeated challenger Delano Hunter, “who was well-organized and drew voters who want a referendum on gay marriage,” according to the Washington Post. According to GLAA, King was reportedly working with Bishop Harry Jackson to bus their supporters to the convention.
 
NOM has been bragging about the hundreds of thousands of dollars it dropped into robo-calls against former Rep. Tom Campbell, who opposed California’s Prop. 8 and was recently defeated in the GOP senatorial primary. But on a per-capita basis, the $400,000 NOM spent attacking Campbell pales in comparison with the $60,900 it has already reported spending in DC, with the District's September 14 primary still three months away.
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Delano Hunter Posts Archive

Miranda Blue, Wednesday 01/11/2012, 12:44pm
In 2010, Right Wing Watch reported that the National Organization for Marriage was pouring tens of thousands of dollars into D.C.’s Ward 5 city council race in an effort to punish one of the proponents of the District’s 2009 marriage equality law. The beneficiary of NOM’s largesse was Delano Hunter, a candidate who supported putting a referendum to undo the new marriage equality bill on the ballot. Despite NOM’s efforts, Hunter lost fairly badly to incumbent Harry Thomas. Now, Thomas has been forced to resign after being charged with embezzling more than $350,000 in... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Wednesday 01/04/2012, 4:07pm
In 2010, the National Organization for Marriage tried to make good on its pledge to punish pro-marriage-equality political leaders in the District of Columbia by pouring money into the election for the Ward 5 seat on the DC council.  As we reported then, NOM paid tens of thousands of dollars for direct mail, robocalls, and racially divisive flyers attacking incumbent councilmember Harry Thomas for his pro-equality vote and supporting Delano Hunter, who according one NOM 2010 flyer “shares our values.” In spite of NOM’s help, Hunter lost to Thomas in the Democratic... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Wednesday 09/15/2010, 1:39pm
We noted a few days ago that the National Organization for Marriage was desperately trying to get something of value from the money it was pouring into DC elections. Now we know what they got: not much. NOM-supported mayoral candidate Leo Alexander got less than one percent of the vote. And Ward 5 candidate Delano Hunter, the primary beneficiary of NOM’s spending, ended up with only 20 percent in his bid to unseat Councilmember Harry “Tommy” Thomas. That translates into 3,091 votes with 16 of 18 Ward 5 precincts reporting.   During the campaign, Hunter... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Saturday 09/11/2010, 12:09pm
As we’ve been reporting, the National Organization for Marriage has been pumping money into Washington D.C.’s Democratic Party primaries in order to make good on its threat to punish elected officials who supported the District’s marriage equality law. With NOM’s mayoral candidate Leo Alexander barely registering in the polls (one percent among likely voters), and its candidate for the at-large council seat knocked off the ballot for failing to collect sufficient valid signatures, NOM’s last best hope seems to be helping Ward 5 council candidate Delano... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Wednesday 09/01/2010, 9:34am
The National Organization for Marriage, which has been pouring money into District of Columbia elections to punish officials who supported DC’s  new marriage equality law, has sent voters in the city’s Ward 5 a lurid campaign piece supporting an anti-marriage-equality candidate (see below) and warning that “Outside Special Interests are Targeting Delano Hunter.”  Thousands of dollars from homosexual activists outside Ward 5 are attacking Delano Hunter because he supports our right to vote on whether the District legalizes ‘gay marriage.’  ... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Wednesday 09/01/2010, 9:34am
The National Organization for Marriage, which has been pouring money into District of Columbia elections to punish officials who supported DC’s  new marriage equality law, has sent voters in the city’s Ward 5 a lurid campaign piece supporting an anti-marriage-equality candidate (see below) and warning that “Outside Special Interests are Targeting Delano Hunter.”  Thousands of dollars from homosexual activists outside Ward 5 are attacking Delano Hunter because he supports our right to vote on whether the District legalizes ‘gay marriage.’  ... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Monday 06/14/2010, 11:09am
We noted last month that flyers sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage had been appearing on front doors around the District of Columbia. The flyers urged people to vote against every elected official who supported marriage equality in DC and is up for reelection this year. NOM, which has been pouring money into campaigns around the country to punish pro-equality elected officials, was particularly stung by marriage equality’s victory in the nation’s capital. It has been working to overturn that victory in the courts, and it’s now clear just how... MORE >