Equality California announced late Friday afternoon that it has endorsed out Oakland City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan in the race for Oakland mayor.
The news comes days after a poll showed Kaplan first in the 15-candidate field, leading incumbent Mayor Jean Quan by 22 percent.
EQCA described Kaplan as a “strong, well-qualified” candidate in a news release, which also included endorsements for other local races throughout the state.
“These are strong, well-qualified candidates, and they’re also all proud members of California’s LGBT community. Not only is it vital to have LGBT voices represented at all levels of government, but local races are often an important stepping stone for higher office,” said Rick Zbur, EQCA executive director. “Helping grow the bench of LGBT elected officials is important to the mission of Equality California, and we’re proud to endorse these six candidates.”
Kaplan, 43, has been a prominent LGBT voice in Oakland for more than a decade.
“Her leadership on issues ranging from LGBT youth funding to the relaunch of Oakland Pride illustrate her deep understanding of and commitment to the needs and priorities of the local LGBT community,” the EQCA release said. If elected, she would be Oakland’s first openly LGBT mayor.
Kaplan’s campaign said it was “thrilled” with the news.
“We’re thrilled and honored to have the support of an organization that’s been such a strong leader on social justice and equality for all,” Kaplan campaign manager Jason Overman told the Bay Area Reporter in an email.
“Every day, we gain new momentum,” he added. “This week, the first poll released since we entered the mayor’s race shows Councilmember Kaplan with a commanding 22-point lead.”
Overman added that Kaplan has also been endorsed by the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, and the national Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.
In addition to Kaplan, EQCA endorsed Sheila Kuehl for Los Angeles County supervisor, Jeffrey Prang for Los Angeles County assessor, James Williamson for Palm Springs School Board, David Robert “DR” Heywood for Anaheim City School Board, and Scott Houston for West Basin Municipal Water District.
Kuehl, who has also endorsed Kaplan, is a former state senator and made history as the first LGBT person elected to the Legislature when she served in the Assembly. Williamson is the partner of former EQCA leader Geoff Kors and is making his first bid for public office.