The midterm election results were mixed, but there was still much to celebrate regarding LGBTQ and allied candidates. Here are some highlights.
The U.S. House seats that flipped from Republican to Democrat included the one in Minnesota’s Second Congressional District, where Angie Craig, a lesbian, defeated anti-LGBTQ incumbent Jason Lewis. Lewis has said, among other things, that parenting by same-sex couples was harmful to children and that LGBTQ activists were “shredding the Constitution.” Craig will be Minnesota’s first out Congress member and the first lesbian mother in Congress. New Hampshire also elected its first out member of Congress, gay man Chris Pappas, a Democrat, over Republican Eddie Edwards for an open seat in the First Congressional District.
In California’s 25th Congressional District, bisexual candidate Katie Hill, a Democrat, beat homophobic incumbent Republican Steve Knight, in a race that was called in her favor on Wednesday. The district is the last one in Los Angeles County with a Republican representative. In another close California congressional race, Democrat and ally Harley Rouda appears to have beaten anti-LGBTQ incumbent Dana Rohrabacher in the 48th District. In Illinois, another ally, Democrat Sean Casten, has ousted homophobic incumbent Peter Roskam in the Sixth Congressional District.
In Michigan, Democrat Dana Nessel, an out lesbian who brought one of the marriage equality cases that eventually went to the Supreme Court, has been elected attorney general. She’s the first openly LGBTQ person to win statewide office in Michigan and the second out attorney general in the nation, after Maura Healey in Massachusetts. She bested Republican Tom Leonard for the open seat. The incumbent, Republican Bill Schuette, ran for governor and lost to Democrat Gretchen Whitmer.
California is likely to get its first out statewide official. In the race for insurance commissioner, Ricardo Lara, a gay man who’s currently a state senator, is leading Steve Poizner, a Republican turned independent, by 105,000 votes as of Wednesday morning.
The LGBTQ haven of Key West, Fla., elected the state’s first out lesbian mayor. Teri Johnston won the nonpartisan race with 66 percent of the vote, defeating Margaret Romero. The incumbent, Craig Cates, did not run again due to term limits.
Minnesota appears to have elected the Midwest's first out sheriff. Dave Hutchinson, a gay man, has a 2,300-vote lead over incumbent Rich Stanek in Hennepin County, which includes Minneapolis and is the state's most populous county. But Stanek is not yet conceding, the Star Tribune reports. The results will be certified next week.
Several state legislatures got their first out LGBTQ members. Susan Ruiz and Brandon Woodard, both Democrats, were elected to the Kansas House of Representatives. Kansas was also notable for electing Democrat Laura Kelly, an ally, over Republican Kris Kobach for governor, and for electing its first out member of Congress, Democrat Sharice Davids, a Native American lesbian.
Indiana and Nebraska also got their first out state legislators, with J.D. Ford elected to the Indiana Senate and Megan Hunt to the Nebraska House of Representatives. In New Hampshire, two transgender candidates, Gerri Cannon and Lisa Bunker, have been elected to the state House. Results are not yet in for two other trans state legislative candidates, Amelia Marquez in Montana and Brianna Titone in Colorado.
On the downside, a few leading homophobes who appeared vulnerable, all Republicans, won reelection to the U.S. House. Steve King of Iowa narrowly prevailed over challenger J.D. Scholten. In Ohio, Jim Jordan and Steve Stivers fended off Janet Garrett and Rick Neal (the latter is gay), respectively.
And in Texas, anti-LGBTQ Republican incumbent Will Hurd holds a small lead, 689 votes as of Wednesday afternoon, over lesbian Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones. But she isn’t conceding, as provisional ballots and overseas military ballots remain to be counted, the San Antonio Express-News reports. “This election is not over — every vote matters and must be counted. Gina’s campaign has been powered by grassroots energy from day one, and we won’t stop working until every provisional ballot, absentee ballot, and military or overseas ballot has been counted,” her spokeswoman Noelle Rosellini tweeted Wednesday.
Check back to The Advocate for results of any as yet undecided races.