The Contenders: Hot LGBT Prospects for Office

Get acquainted with some of the LGBT candidates hoping to storm the halls of power this year.

BY Julie Bolcer

July 12 2012 5:00 AM ET

Luminaries like Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwin are leaving the House of Representatives after this session—the former is retiring and the latter running for the Senate—but in congressional and state-level races across the country, more LGBT candidates than ever are campaigning. There are so many candidates, in fact, that it can be difficult to keep track of all the contenders. By early June the Victory Fund, which works to elect out leaders to political office, had endorsed 113 LGBT hopefuls for this election cycle. From a prospective out lawmaker in Texas to a bisexual congressional candidate, check out the hot prospects for 2012.

Mary González (D-Texas)
Identifies as gay
Running for: Texas House of Representatives, District 75
Platform: Education, health care, infrastructure
Prospects: González will become the only openly LGBT member of the Texas state legislature, having won her primary and facing no Republican opponent in the general election this November.

Brian Sims (D-Pa.)
Identifies as gay
Running for: Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 182
Platform: Job creation, education, equality, public safety
Prospects: Sims appears on track be the first and only openly LGBT member of the Pennsylvania state legislature. He won his primary in Philadelphia and faces no Republican opponent in the general election.

Angie Buhl (D-S.D.)
Identifies as bisexual
Running for: South Dakota Senate, District 15
Platform: Affordable housing, economy, wind energy investment, children and families
Prospects: Buhl, who is seeking reelection in a competitive race, came out as bisexual this year, making her the first openly LGBT elected official to serve in South Dakota.

Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.)
Identifies as bisexual
Running for: U.S. House of Representatives, District 9
Platform: Immigration reform, health care, solar power, seniors
Prospects: Sinema is seeking to be the first openly bisexual member of Congress in an election considered a toss-up between Democrats and Republicans.  

Andrew Staton (D-Del.)
Identifies as gay
Running for: Delaware Senate, District 6
Platform: Job creation, transportation, quality of life
Prospects: The Rehoboth Beach real estate agent would be the first openly LGBT member of the Delaware state legislature, but he still faces a primary and general election this fall.

Deb Butler (D-N.C.)
Identifies as lesbian
Running for: North Carolina Senate, District 9
Platform: Employment, education, women, seniors and families
Prospects: This longtime small-business owner from Wilmington faces a competitive general election in her bid to become the only openly LGBT member of the North Carolina state Senate.

Mark Pocan (D-Wis.)
Identifies as gay
Running for: U.S. House of Representatives, District 2
Platform: Workers’ rights, higher education, health care, seniors
Prospects: The state Assembly member faces a primary in August that should determine the occupant of this safely Democratic seat in Madison being vacated by Tammy Baldwin.

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