Tammy Baldwin Makes History As The First Open Lesbian To Win A Congressional Primary

WASHINGTON -- Wisconsin state Rep. Tammy Baldwin's win in the 2nd Congressional District's Democratic primary is an historic victory for lesbian and gay equality, said the Human Rights Campaign. Baldwin became the first openly lesbian non-incumbent to win a congressional primary. The Human Rights Campaign endorsed Baldwin in December 1997 because of her superb record as a public servant.

"Tammy Baldwin would be an outstanding member of Congress. Her legislative record on a broad range of issues and her superior campaigning skills will make her formidable in November," said HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg.

In the Democratic primary to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Republican Rep. Scott Klug, Baldwin received 37% of the vote to defeat former Dane County Supervisor Rick Phelps with 35% and State Senator Joe Wineke who received 27%.

The Human Rights Campaign took an active role in helping Tammy Baldwin both financially and by providing volunteers. HRC's political action committee (PAC) gave Baldwin a $5,000 contribution and sent out a mailing to the 2,000 members in the district. HRC also provided two staff people to help organize HRC's members and consult with the campaign.

Baldwin has served for six years in the state legislature, representing the heart of Madison. She has earned respect as a compassionate and honest leader on issues ranging from crime and reproductive choice to campaign finance reform and civil rights. She won her most recent general election, in 1996, with more than 70 percent of the vote. Prior to her tenure at the state level, she served four terms on the Dane County Board of Supervisors, to which she was first elected at the age of 24.

In a closely watched race in Wisconsin's 2nd Congressional District Republican primary, rabidly anti-gay fundamentalist Ron Greer barely lost to Jo Musser by less than 400 votes. Greer received 20% of the vote to Musser's 21%. Greer, an ordained minister, drew nationwide attention in a fundraising letter calling Baldwin a "left-wing lesbian" and saying she "wants to force her radical anti-family agenda on all Americans--including you and your family."

"The fair minded voters were not going to be fooled by this mean-spirited, spiteful rhetoric. They were familiar with Baldwin's accomplished record on a multiplicity of issues," said Stachelberg.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian and gay political organization, with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that lesbian and gay Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

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