The Gay Lesbian Victory Fund commended Dallas City Councilman Ed Oakley Saturday on his historic run to become the city’s next mayor.

Oakley lost a runoff election Saturday to retired business executive Tom Leppert, who loaned himself hundreds of thousands of dollars to help fund his campaign.

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund exists to help gay men and lesbians get elected to office in the United States.

Oakley and Leppert were the top two in a field of 11 candidates in the general election on May 12.

“They say ‘close’ doesn’t count in politics, but Ed Oakley’s historic campaign may have changed politics forever,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund.

“That an openly gay man was a serious contender to become mayor of one the largest cities in America is a testament to the fair-mindedness of this country, and a wake-up call for the political establishment.

“Ed ran neck and neck with a self-funded opponent, but he never ran away from the truth about his sexual orientation.

“We are enormously proud of Ed and his campaign team, and grateful to our donors who believed in this campaign from its inception.”

This campaign marked the third time the Fund has endorsed Oakley; it supported two of his previous campaigns for the District 3 seat on the Dallas City Council.

Oakley thanked the group for its support:

“The Victory Fund has always been there for me, and they were an enormously important part of this campaign.

“Their leadership makes it possible for people like me to compete at the highest levels of politics.

“I’m so grateful for their hard work and for the resources they brought to our campaign.”

Earlier in the week Wolfe praised the Victory Fund’s partnership with local groups who worked to turn out Oakley supporters on Election Day.

In a letter to Victory’s national network of donors, Wolfe wrote, “Stonewall Democrats of Dallas has worked hand in hand with the Human Rights Campaign and the Dallas Gay Lesbian Alliance to rally support for Ed throughout the city. We are proud to work with such focused and effective members of our community.”

Texas Stonewall Democrats President Shannon Bailey echoed Wolfe’s praise for the national-local partnership:

“The Victory Fund’s investment in Dallas has been remarkable, and we are proud of our partnership with them. They do a terrific job working with local organizations, and we are grateful for their support.”

© 2007. PRNewswire.com; All Rights Reserved.