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All five gay candidates lost in Fort Lauderdale

The gay community was fired up politically after feuding with Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle in 2007, but that didn't translate to success at the polls.

Coleman Prewitt's loss last night in a district City Commission race in Fort Lauderdale means that all five gay candidates lost in the February and March elections. Michael Albetta, president of the gay group Dolphin Democrats, says that gay candidates lost to better-known or financed opponents -- not because they were gay.

Prewitt had only lived in his district a year while winner Romney Rogers had lived there for decades and had a warchest of nearly $40,000 more than Prewitt.

Gay activists are celebrating the success of Anthony Niedwiecki in Oakland Park. An openly gay candidate in Dania Beach, Derrick Hankerson, lost.

The losses in Fort Lauderdale don't mean that gay activists will stay away from City Hall. Albetta says they will push the city this year to adopt domestic partner benefits for city employees.

Mayor elect Jack Seiler said the city will look into adding those benefits. Seiler was mayor of Wilton Manors when that city added domestic partner benefits in 1999.

"Most people support some form of domestic partnership,'' said Seiler, who becomes mayor Tuesday. "We will look at it but we have to do it in the context of proper timing with respect to budget issues.''

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