A nonprofit organization called Working Families Win is trying to turn out an estimated 250,000 gay voters in the Las Vegas area to vote to save Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the midterm elections.
Working Families Win says it is taking advantage of early voting in Nevada to hold a “Gay out the Early Vote Party,” where it expects to reach out to at least 2,000 gays, lesbians, and their straight allies.
Running a tight race against tea party favorite Sharron Angle, Reid is one of the most endangered Democrats to face voters this November. Democrats recently have been touting an Oct. 13 poll which puts Reid just 3 points ahead of Angle, the Republican nominee.
Reid was first elected to the Senate in 1986. He has been leading the Senate since Democrats took control of Congress in 2006. If Reid falls, he will be the second Democratic leader to be defeated by a Republican, following the 2004 ouster of Sen. Tom Daschle in South Dakota.
Republicans would need to win 10 Senate seats to take Senate control back from Democrats. National Democrats in Washington have been saying for weeks that 15 races are within such a close margin that they could go either way.
“For queer persons, voting is the doorway to greater dignity and justice. These basic queer values must be included in the larger discourse. When we vote as queer persons we support these values of dignity and justice; by voting we offer them as a gift to our communities and our world,” says Jane Heenan, a counselor and community leader in Las Vegas.
Each candidate has made their views known on issues important to the gay community, according to a statement from Working Families Win, including the fate of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on gays serving openly in the U.S. military.
According to the Working Families Win statement:
•Reid supports a full repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, whereas Angle stated in last Tuesday’s senatorial debate that she believes in waiting for further military review.
•Angle opposes adding sexual orientation as a protected minority whereas Reid voted to add sexual orientation to the definition of hate crimes.
The publisher of the news site On The Hill, Scott Nance has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.