Chris Seelbach, a first-time candidate for Cincinnati City Council, has won an endorsement from the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, a national group that could provide a boost in campaign fundraising.
Founded in 1991, the Victory Fund provides strategic, technical and financial support to openly gay and lesbian candidates across the United States, helping them win elections at local, state and federal levels. Most recently, the organization helped elect Mayor Anise Parker of Houston, Texas, the fourth-largest city in the nation.
In 2008, 80 of the group's 111 endorsed candidates won their elections.
Victory Fund leaders said the group choose to support Seelbach not because he's an openly gay man who lives with his partner, but because Seelbach worked to help repeal Article 12 from the city's charter in 2004. Article 12 was the law pushed by Citizens for Community Values that prohibited city officials from passing any measures aimed at protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination. The measure cost Cincinnati more than $45 million in lost convention revenue during its 11 years in existence, according to the Greater Cincinnati Convention & Visitor’s Bureau.
“We’re proud to endorse Chris Seelbach for Cincinnati City Council," said Chuck Wolfe, the Victory Fund's president and CEO, in a prepared statement. "We believe his background as the chief financial officer of a small business and his experience fighting for justice and equal rights is exactly what Cincinnati needs.”
The organization's website features information about Seelbach and a link where people can make donations to his campaign.
Seelbach, 31, works for The Seidewitz Group, a national marketing consulting firm based in Cincinnati, where he holds the titles of chief financial officer and vice president of political consulting. He also serves as a mentor with the Executive Mentorship program at Xavier University, is the former vice president of CincYP PAC and is political co-chair of the Human Rights Campaign Greater Cincinnati steering committee.
A Democrat, Seelbach announced his candidacy in May 2010.