John Mandt. (JohnMandt4VW.com)
A West Virginia, US, lawmaker who resigned earlier this year after allegedly saying “silly faggots, dicks are for chicks!” has been reelected as a delegate.
John Mandt Jr withdrew from the race to join West Virginia House of Delegates, representing District 16, in October.
The 57-year-old withdrew after he reportedly wrote in a Facebook group chat called “The Right Stuff”, which included conservative state lawmakers and office candidates, a slew of anti-gay slurs. He also allegedly speculated about the sexuality of other elected officials.
However, Mandt’s name remained on the ballot, and he won the general election in November.
By a narrow margin of just 71 votes, Huntington locals reelected Mandt, throwing Republican leaders into a tense bind, AP reported.
LGBT+ legislators uneasy at having to work with John Mandt Jr.
When Mandt Jr first resigned, Republican house speaker Roger Hanshaw issued a blunt repudiation of him, saying that bigotry has no place in the state.
But with his return to the chamber confirmed, Mandt sought to praise the very speaker who once slated him. In an email sent to the news wire, he said called Hanshaw “a great man and a phenomenal leader”.
“I’m looking forward to continuing my hard work in the legislature and along with my colleagues.”
A similarly squeaky approach will no doubt be deployed by Mandt’s fellow Republican officials, buoyed by a stronger statehouse majority thanks to West Virginia’s unfettered allegiance to Donald Trump.
For the withered Democratic officeholders, especially openly LGBT+ members of the state legislature, a sense of unease and fear.
“It hurts,” said delegate Cody Thompson, “I work with these people.
“In general, I’m very proud of a lot of things we can work together on for the betterment of the people of West Virginia, but when it comes down to seeing these comments, it’s really hard to work with those who, they may smile to my face and talk to me, but behind closed doors or in conversations with others they use homophobic slurs.”