An election that virtually gets no press was hotly contested this year. The D.C. Young Democrats elected a gay Democratic activist as president in this year’s election. Toby Quaranta, 28, won nearly 60 percent of the votes beating out favored presidential candidate, Brandon Todd, who currently serves as campaign operations manager of Ward 4 Muriel Bowser’s re-election campaign, whom he previously worked for before joining her campaign team. Ward 8 Community Activist Phillip Pannell was the last openly-gay candidate to head the group in 1979.
More worth noting, Quaranta is the first white candidate to head the typical African-American lead group. Quaranta beat out Todd in a vote of 80 to 54. Many people complained about the voting process. It was held on May 5th, Cinco de Mayo, at the JW Marriott Washington hotel downtown between the hours of 10am and 11am. Many found it challenging to get to this location and thought the hours of voting were not traditional.
Quaranta’s victory is not only unique in that he is homosexual, but he also won on a tough slate. The slate Todd ran had past seasoned campaigners and former workers of former Mayor Adrian Fenty, all of whom won. Everyone on Todd’s slate won, but Todd, although seven of the other eight candidates ran unopposed.
In a statement, Quaranta said, “I’m honored and humbled. I thank all of my supporters and I thank everyone who came out and participated in the election. I look forward to bringing together folks from all 8 wards and working with all Young Democrats in D.C. to re-elect the president.”
The Young Democrats of D.C. and similar groups in other states are recognized as official arms of the D.C. and state Democratic Parties. Most state parties, including D.C.’s Democratic State Committee, include leaders of the Young Democrats as members of party committees.