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16 LGBTQ+ Candidates to Watch on Election Night
LGBTQ+ Candidates to Watch on Election Night
All eyes are on whether voters will oust Donald Trump this week and whether Democrats can claw back their majority in the Senate. There are also thousands of other races happening this cycle, with over 550 LGBTQ+ candidates vying for election. The Victory Fund, an organization that works to elect out candidates, is endorsing 311 openly LGBTQ+ candidates, from those in the reddest states to the bluest, from congressional candidates to those running for school boards and town councils. Representation matters, especially in the halls of power, and more out candidates equates to more equality. Check out some of the most high-profile LGBTQ+ races on the following pages.
Jon Hoadley, candidate for Michigan's Sixth Congressional District
This Michigan state representative, a Democrat, would become the state's first out member of Congress. He is facing a Republican will low marks for LGBTQ+ equality and he's been subjected to homophobic attacks from a GOP Super PAC.
Kim Jackson, Georgia State Senate
This lesbian Episcopal priest and social justice advocate became the first out member of Georgia's State Senate. She will represent District 41.
Raised in a rural town in South Carolina, Jackson has called Georgia home for over a decade and lives on a farm with her partner and pets. She is an advocate for public education, criminal justice reform, ending the death penalty, and of course, LGBTQ+ equality. "I felt really early that I wanted to make a difference in the world," she told The Advocate in a 2020 Champions of Pride profile.
Eric Holguin, candidate for Texas's House of Representatives
If successful, Holguin will be the first openly gay man of color elected to the Texas House. A longtime leader in Latinx and LGBTQ+ advocacy circles, Holguin fought for veterans (and got a bill signed into law in Texas) with a local veterans organization, and fought for civil and LGBTQ rights as president of a LULAC chapter, LULAC PARA TODOS. Through LULAC, Holguin is working to set up a scholarship program for LGBTQ+ students.
Gina Ortiz Jones, candidate for Texas's 23rd Congressional District
Jones, a lesbian running for the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas's 23rd Congressional District, would be the first Filipina-American in Congress and the first out member of the LGBTQ+ community elected to the body from the Lone Star State. She was nearly elected to Congress two years ago, but lost to the Republican by less than 1,000 votes.
Marque Snow, candidate for Nebraska legislature
The current president of the Omaha Board of Education, Snow could become the first LGBTQ+ person of color elected to Nebraska's House. Snow, who lives in Omaha with his husband, has spent his career working with disadvantaged youth and currently mentors with the 100 Black Men of Omaha and also serves on the African Culture Connection Board.
Madeline Eden, candiate for Texas House of Representatives
If elected, Eden would be the first openly transgender member of the Texas House of Representatives. Eden is the current Chair of the Bastrop County Stonewall Democrats and a former Democratic Precinct Chair. Eden is also known for her work with Register2Vote, a Texas based non-profit which she founded with partner Jeremy Smith in early 2018. Their organization registered more than 150,000 Texans before the 2018 voter registration deadline, according to Victory Fund.
Mondaire Jones, New York's 17th Congressional District
Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torres have been elected the first Black LGBTQ+ members of Congress. Both are gay men.
Jones, who won in New York's 17th Congressional District, just north of NYC, is an attorney who most recently worked in Westchester County's Law Department.
Ritchie Torres, New York's 15th Congressional District
Like Mondaire Jones, Ritchie Torres made history as one of the nation's first Black LGBTQ+ congressmen, and he is also first Afro-Latinx gay congressman. Torres defeated notorious homophobe Ruben Diaz Sr. in the primary and will represent a Bronx district in the U.S. House. Torres currently serves on New York's City Council.
Sarah McBride, Delaware State Senate
This spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign was victorious on Tuesday and became the nation's first openly transgender state senator. McBride has a long history in politics, interning in the Obama White House (becoming the first trans person to do such), speaking at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, working for Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, and banking victories at Equality Delaware.
Shevrin Jones, Florida State Senate
The Sunshine State elected its first out LGBTQ+ state senator, Shevrin Jones. He will represent District 35 in the State Senate.
Jones will become one of the only out Black men serving in U.S. state senates; he will share that distinction with Jabari Brisport, who successfully ran in New York. Jones, who came out as gay in 2018, has served several terms in Florida's House.
Michele Raynor, Florida's House of Representatives
Michele Rayner is the first Black queer woman to win a seat in the Florida legislature. She will represent District 70 in the State House.
Raynor is a civil rights attorney and social justice advocate and lead counsel of Civil Liberty Law, her own law firm. In addition, Raynor is local counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and the Fred G. Minnis Bar Association.
Marti Cummings, candidate for New York City Council
This longtime New Yorker is running for a seat on the city's powerful council. Cummings has long been active in NYC Democratic circles (they're the founding president of the Hell's Kitchen Democrats) and currently sits on Community Board 9, serving the people of Upper Manhattan, and they're currently an advisor on the NYC Nightlife Advisory Board. Cummings is known to many by their drag persona and they wear their drag identity with pride.
Georgette Gómez, candidate for California's 53rd Congressional District
This leader is hoping to become the nation's first queer Latinx person in Congress. Gomez is a proud environmental activist in California, getting her start as a community organizer for an environmental justice group, then into politics as a member and eventually president of the San Diego City Council, a post she holds currently (she has also been board chair for the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System).
Bryce Bennett, candidate for Montana's Secretary of State
This leader currently serves in Montana's state Senate and is hoping to be elected the state's Secretary of State, which would put him in charge of the state's election practices. Bennett has a history of success in a state he describes as not as conservative as you might think. Read more about Bennett here.
Jenna Wadsworth, candidate for North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture
Raised in a poor, rural environment, this role model managed to get elected to her first position at age 21; Wadsworth was the youngest person elected to the Wake County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors. Wadsworth is an advocate for farmers and environmental causes and, if elected as North Carolina's Commissioner of Agriculture, will become the first openly LGBTQ person elected to the Council of State. She's faced rape and death threats because of a video she made that was critical of Donald Trump.
Marko Liias, candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Washington
Liias could be the first openly LGBTQ executive statewide official in Washington. Liias is proudly progressive and currently serves in Washington's State Senate.