HRC's Chad Griffin: On Tuesday, LGBTQ People Crushed It

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The 2018 midterm elections were a resounding victory for equality and a clear rejection of Donald Trump and Mike Pence’s dangerous policies and divisive politics.

LGBTQ voters turned out in force in key House, Senate and state races. And together, our community helped pull the emergency brake on this reckless administration.

Exit polls by CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS show that the LGBTQ voting bloc exceeded turnout levels from the 2016 presidential election. We were an estimated 7 million voters -- 6 percent of the electorate -- providing margins in key and critical races across the country.

While we did not win every race and votes are still being counted and recounted in some states, together, we sent a powerful message to anti-equality politicians: Attack us at your peril. When you come for us, we’re coming for you on Election Day.

For 18 months, HRC has been engaged in the largest grassroots expansion in our history. We endorsed more than 480 pro-equality candidates in 44 states, and deployed over 150 staff to 23 states. We registered more than 32,000 voters in 50 states. We logged more than 30,000 hours volunteering for HRC-endorsed candidates. In just the final four days before Election Day, we made hundreds of thousands of calls, and knocked on over 100,000 doors in targeted races. And together, we helped change the course of history.

We replaced at least 24 anti-equality House incumbents with HRC-backed candidates committed to moving equality forward. Half of the House incumbents we defeated had a 0 out of 100 on HRC’s Congressional Scorecard, with the average score among them being a 15. We protected our champions like Senator Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, and in Nevada we helped elect Jacky Rosen to the Senate. We flipped seven governorships, including in three of HRC’s priority states in Wisconsin, Nevada, and Michigan.

It was also a historic night for women, people of color, and LGBTQ candidates, including trailblazers like congressional winners Angie Craig, Lauren Underwood, Sharice Davids, Katie Hill, Ilhan Omar, and Chris Pappas, and Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Colorado Governor-elect Jared Polis. In states nationwide, we elected dozens of pro-equality champions to state legislatures who will be key in fighting back against anti-LGBTQ legislation and will be leading partners in advancing protections. And working in coalition across movements, we overwhelmingly defeated an effort in Massachusetts to repeal protections for transgender people.

HRC’s endorsed candidates campaigned on equality, and that helped carry them to victory. By ousting those who work against us, we now have partners in Congress who will work with us to move equality forward. And by reclaiming a pro-equality majority in the House, we now have the ability to pull the emergency brake on this administration, pass the Equality Act, and protect healthcare.

This is what happens when LGBTQ people and our allies mobilize, organize and turn out. Now we must use this momentum to propel us forward -- to pass the Equality Act, extend local protections for LGBTQ people, and lay the groundwork for wins in 2020.  

CHAD GRIFFIN is the president and CEO of the Human Rights Campaign. Follow him on Twitter @ChadHGriffin.

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