Obama Enlists Strategic Gay Endorsees

Oh, girl!

Barack Obama made a play for some new gays – and won. The Senator from Illinois just enlisted an additional 40 LGBT leaders, activists and politicos to endorse his campaign. They aren’t just any gays, either, but a specially selected swath of endorsees.

As Obama campainer Eric Stern tells Kerry Eleveld, “It’s not just a list. It’s a group of individuals, all of whom are highly skilled and bring a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge to the campaign.” And send a powerful, strategic message.

Obama’s team has compiled an impressive roster of bold name activists, like Donna Rose. The former HRC board member resigned in protest after the ENDA crisis. Though once a Clinton supporter, Rose tells Eleveld that campaign didn’t seem ready to “engage” its backers. Obama wooed Rose with personal notes to HRC leaders following the Logo-sponsored gay forum.

Jeremy Bishop also brings some weight to Obama’s. Though his organization, gay union loving Pride at Work, didn’t endorse Obama, the labor leader will definitely help sway blue collar voters, who have traditionally favored Clinton.

In terms of outreach, Bishop has been working on some op-eds for inclusion in papers such as The Southern Voice and the Washington Blade. His ties also run deep in the labor community, though he is careful to note that the 7,000-member Pride At Work has not endorsed a candidate.

Nonetheless, Bishop’s support can’t hurt in states that are union heavy and he counts Pennsylvania among one of the five states with the densest Pride At Work membership.

Pennsylvania’s a key primary win with 188 delegates at stake. It’s go big or go home – and Obama’s going big.

The other endorsees include Missouri State Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford, Hispanic Business Association’s David Pena Jr and activist blogger Andres Duques. While all these men and women are notable in their own respect, this bundling purposefully signals that Obama’s with the fringe of gay communities, thus reinforcing his symbolism as a Washington outsider who’s speaking for the people. It’s very clever – and will no doubt drive the Clinton camp nuts!

Here’s the entire list of new supporters:
Jeanette Mott Oxford, Missouri State Representative, District 59-St. Louis City

Wilson Cruz, Actor, Los Angeles, CA

Kevin Jennings, Founder and Executive Director, Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)

Donna Rose, Former Board Member of the Human Rights Campaign; Former member of the Hillary Clinton for President LGBT Steering Committee; Transgender Activist

Jeremy Bishop, Executive Director, Pride at Work (AFL-CIO)

Ian Palmquist, Executive Director, Equality North Carolina; Immediate Past Chair, Equality Federation

Jo Kenny, Development Director, Pride at Work (AFL-CIO)

Stephen Glassman, Chairman, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission

Hans Johnson, President of Progressive Victory

Craig Bowman, Former Executive Director of National Youth Advocacy Coalition

Donna Cartwright, Communications Director, Pride at Work (AFL-CIO)

Perry Nelson, Founder, Gateway Stonewall Democrats (St. Louis, MO)

Ben Turner, Co-Founder and Former Co-Chair of the Capital Region Stonewall Democrats (Harrisburg, PA)

Robert Perez, Public Relations Executive and Former WA Press Secretary for Kerry-Edwards

Judy Chambers, Co-Founder and Former Co-Chair of the Capital Region Stonewall Democrats (Harrisburg, PA)

Conrado Terrazas, Political Field Director for SEIU 1000 (CA)

Lisa Hazirjian, Visiting Professor, Carnegie Mellon University (PA)

Gregg Gallo, National Stonewall Democrats Board Member (WA)

Anita Latch, Washington State Stonewall Democrats President

Jenny Durkan, Washington John Edwards for President State Chair (2004 & 2008)

Krista Strothmann, Baltimore Chapter of Pride at Work (AFL-CIO)

John Klenert, Campaign Board of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and Member of Board of Directors for DC Vote

Marti Abernathy, Transgender Advocate (Indiana)

Joe Darby, Vice President, Pride at Work (AFL-CIO), Lansing, Michigan

Randall Ellis, Former Executive Director of Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas

Andres Duque, LGBT activist (NY)

Gary Fitzsimmons, Dallas County District Clerk (TX)

Tim Downing, Member of Board of Directors for Human Rights Campaign (OH)

Christina Ocasio, Transgender activist; 2004 delegate to the DNC Convention (TX)

Dyshaun Muhammad, Former GLBT Caucus Chair, Young Democrats of America; Former Political Chair of Twin Cities HRC Steering Committee (MN)

Pauline Park, Chair, New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy

Glen Maxey, Former Texas State Representative (first openly gay member)

Marti Bier, Former Field Director for PFLAG

Doug Lakey, Director of West Coast Office of Alliance for Justice; former Development Director for the Human Rights Campaign

Terry Penrod, Member of Board of Directors for Human Rights Campaign (OH)

David Pena, Jr., Executive Director, National Hispanic Business Association

John McClelland, President, Denton County Stonewall Democrats (TX)

Joe Lacey, Dayton (OH) Board of Education Member

Tony Ballis, President, Dayton (OH) Stonewall Democrats

Noel Alicea, LGBT activist (NY)

*Organizations listed for identification purposes only.

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