Yesterday was a bad day for the Lee Fisher campaign.? Their first mailer hilariously hit mailboxes including Jennifer Brunner’s Rosie the Riveter logo.? But that wasn’t the big news.? I attended and voted in the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats May 4 primary endorsement meeting for Jennifer Brunner last night.? At least 60% (the threshold for endorsements) of the rest of the Stonewall Democrats present did too.? Which means Jennifer gets a major endorsement in Lee’s home county.

The US Senate race last night was the most hotly debated race on the May 4 ballot, but in the end, there was a real sentiment that Lee Fisher can’t win in the fall against Rob Portman, among the people who know Lee best.? In Lee Fisher’s home county, the largest bloc of Democratic primary voters in the state, there is at least one significant constituency willing to put its credibility behind that sentiment, and fight to get Democrats a winning candidate.

Jennifer was there, and Peggy Zone Fisher attended for Lee, which I think made a difference, particularly given something that Peggy noted about Lee’s record.? Strangely, Peggy touted a hate crimes bill which Lee claims to have helped pass back in the early 90’s in response to a cross burning incident in Collinwood.? Peggy said that back then, LGBT rights weren’t in the bill, but if it were introduced today, LGBT rights would be in it.? The confusion in the room was palpable – it was as if Peggy wanted to point out that no one has ever heard Lee Fisher utter a single word about gay rights until he got into this primary.

It’s one thing to show up at gay events your whole career and tell people what they want to hear, quite another to put gay rights on your public agenda, draw a line, and defend that line against all comers. ?? Tellingly, despite Don’t Ask Don’t Tell being debated at the federal level in public hearings in the Senate in which Lee Fisher wants to sit as I write this, not one word on DADT is in Lee Fisher’s first mailer.? Should there be?? Um….yeah.? Or at least his surrogate could have mentioned it while asking for Stonewall’s endorsement last night.

This endorsement was not taken lightly by the voting members present, or the board.? The best news for me from this meeting is that the LGBT community in Ohio is really beginning to flex its muscle in the Ohio Democratic Party, and locally in Cuyahoga County, where gay votes really matter on election day.? We can thank Jennifer Garrison for that.? There is a sense of confidence which I have not seen before, a recognition of the power LGBT unity can bring to bear on major decisions about our party’s ticket and direction, and a weighty understanding of the responsibility that comes with it. Rob Rivera, president of Cleveland Stonewall Democrats, noted that CSD will be putting this influence to work as the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party begins to pick up the pieces and rebuild.? Good.

Jennifer Brunner has that endorsement behind her.? Now go make us proud, Jennifer, and win this primary.? We got your back.