jim neal of north carolina is running as a democrat to take elizabeth dole's place in the u.s. senate.
two weeks after he announced his plan to run, the democratic senatorial campaign committee had not listed neal as running for office.
now it lists him along with kay hagan + former republican john ross hendrix as democratic contenders for dole's place in the senate. both hagan + hendrix have emerged as contenders, reportedly at the urging of the dscc, in the wake of neal's twin announcements--that he is running for the senate + that he is gay.
according to unnamed sources, new york senator chuck schumer, head of the dscc, responded angrily when neal announced his intent to run + told others that north carolina would never ever elect an openly gay candidate.
maybe not. but the democratic party does not help matters when, claiming to be friends to the glbt community, it insists on ignoring + dismissing queer people who express interest in running for public office.
of the three proposed candidates, hendrix is running on a platform that might have been the same one he held as a republican (anti-immigrant, pro-'family,' + anti-tax).
hagan, a state senator for nine years, so far is running on her record of fighting against predatory lending, supporting education, + strengthening homeland security.
neal, a 51-year-old investment banker from chapel hill, is open about his gayness but not interested in running as just a niche candidate. his web site lists three key issues: supporting health insurance for children, opposing the privatization of medicare + social security, +, except for a few small strategic units to fight terrorism, bringing the troops home from iraq.
i'm happy to have three democratic candidates to choose from in the primary, but i deeply resent the democratic party's resistance to actual progress while pretending to be progressive.
neal may or may not be the right person to replace dole, but whether he is or not has nothing to do with his sexuality.