Pa. Primary 2022: LGBTQ candidates ran across Pa., to mixed results | Analysis

Some high-profile candidates lost their contests, but other legislative candidates saw electoral success

By: - May 22, 2022 6:30 am

Out candidates Deja Alvarez, Brian Sims, Malcolm Kenyatta, and Jonathan Lovitz lost their primary election bids (Philadelphia Gay News photo collage).

By Jason Villemez

PHILADELPHIA — The results of the 2022 Democratic primary election were mixed for Pennsylvania’s LGBTQ candidates, with several high profile Philadelphia-area candidates losing their races to straight allies.

In the race for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor, openly gay state Rep. Brian Sims, D-Philadelphia, lost to fellow state Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny; as of May 18, Davis had received 63 percent of the vote to Sims’ 24 percent. A third candidate, Ray Sosa, received 12 percent of the vote.

“Congratulations to Rep. Austin Davis on his win tonight!” Sims posted on Twitter on Tuesday. “Austin ran a great race and he’ll be a great Lt. Governor. With the primary over, we all must work to elect Josh Shapiro and Austin Davis as our next Governor and Lt. Governor — the stakes are too high for anything else.”

In the 182nd House District, the seat which Sims gave up to run for lieutenant governor, two LGBTQ candidates, Jonathan Lovitz and Deja Alvarez, lost the primary to LGBTQ ally Ben Waxman.

Waxman won a decisive 40 percent of the vote with Lovitz and Alvarez nearly tied at 19.8 percent and 19.3 percent, respectively. A fourth candidate in that race, Will Gross, received 19.8 percent of the vote, narrowly beating Lovitz for second place. The district covers much of Center City (including the Gayborhood), and parts of Bella Vista and Fairmount.

After Waxman’s victory, Lovitz released a statement that read in part: “To every voter, every neighbor, every donor, every volunteer, and every champion of democracy: thank you. While we didn’t win this election, we should be so proud of running a campaign of total integrity, kindness, and commitment to doing what’s right. My journey into elected office and a life of public service is just getting started.”

In the closely watched Democratic U.S. Senate race, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Philadelphia, came in third place behind U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb and winner, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who won 60 percent of the vote statewide. In Philadelphia, Kenyatta won 33 percent of the vote, good enough for second place among Philadelphia voters after Fetterman’s 36 percent.

Another out candidate, Andre Carroll, who ran against incumbent state Rep. Stephen Kinsey in Philadelphia’s 201st House District in Germantown, lost that race after receiving 42 percent of the vote to Kinsey’s 56 percent.

Despite the local losses, other LGBTQ candidates in Pennsylvania fared better. Several won in Democratic primary races for state house seats, including Gregory Scott, who won in the newly drawn 54th House District, which covers Norristown, Conshohocken and Plymouth Township in Montgomery Countyy; Izzy Smith-Wade-El in the Lancaster-based 49th House District; and two candidates in the Allegheny county area: incumbent Jessica Benham  in the 36th House District, and Latasha Mayes in the 24th House District

Also among the winners of the primary election include LGBTQ candidates for Democratic State Committee: John Brady, Rick Lombardo, Micah Mahjoubian, and Mariel Martin. Members of the Democratic State Committee are responsible for electing party leadership, holding nominating conventions, passing the party’s platform, and leading political organizing across the state.

Other LGBTQ candidates in the 2022 primary included Sean Meloy, who lost his race in the 17th Congressional District, which covers northwestern Allegheny county.

Jason Villemez is the editor of the Philadelphia Gay News, where this story first appeared

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