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Assembly Candidate Torie Osborn Enlists Gay Activists In Fight Against Gay Speaker John Pérez

Assemblywoman Betsy Butler
Assemblywoman Betsy Butler

The irony of the situation is that Pérez is also gay. But evidently he sees his first job as speaker as protecting incumbents, no matter their sexual orientation.

"The Speaker has chosen to declare his allegiance to his current members," said former Sen. Sheila Kuehl, who is backing Osborn. "He has been, I think, very proud that the LGBT caucus is as big as it is. I would wish he would think about that in his allegiances."

Much of Butler's current district has been drawn into the new 66th district, which is split almost evenly between Democrats and Republicans. Butler apparently feels she stands a better chance in the 50th, which leans heavily Democratic.

Bauman, who is an adviser to Pérez, pushed back against the claim that the 50th ought to be represented by a gay person.

"It's not a gay seat," he said. "There are many gay people in the Legislature now. That's a bogus argument."

Bauman said that Osborn would make an "outstanding" legislator. But, he said, "I think it's logical for any leader of any Legislative house to protect their members first."

There are other Democrats in the race, including Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom. West Hollywood Councilman Jeffrey Prang dropped out earlier this month, because he did not want to challenge Butler.

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