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The Gay Races to

The Gay Races to

While all eyes are focused on the historical presidential race, 11 gay Democratic hopefuls are aiming to make their own history in state-level elections.

While Barack Obama and John McCain jockey for electoral votes, dozens of gay candidates nationwide are embroiled in their own political battles. The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund--a group that works to cultivate and elect LGBT politicians--has identified 11 Democratic hopefuls with a chance of making history today.


John Perez, state assembly

This union organizer aims to become the first openly gay person of color elected to the California legislature. If Perez wins, he'll represent the communities of east and south Los Angeles.


Jared Polis, U.S. House of Representatives

Popular and smart, this 33-year-old wunderkind businessman is poised to become the first openly gay male nonincumbent elected to Congress.


Jason Bartlett, state assembly

Bartlett--who came out in February--is seeking reelection in the Connecticut assembly. He's the first openly gay African-American state legislator in the nation.


Nicole LeFavour, state senate

Representing Boise in the Gem State's house of representatives, LeFavour is currently Idaho's only openly gay elected official; she's now running for an open seat in the state senate.


Sara Orozco, state senate

If Orozco wins on November 4, she'll be the only openly gay state senator in Massachusetts. The Latina faces Scott Brown, a notoriously antigay incumbent.


Andrew Martin, state assembly

Martin hopes to represent the Las Vegas metro area's sprawling 13th District in the Nevada assembly, and he has amassed a large volunteer base to accomplish that goal.

North Carolina

John Arrowood, judge, North Carolina court of appeals

Arrowood was appointed to this statewide judicial seat by Gov. Mike Easley and is running to keep the position. He is the first openly gay statewide official in North Carolina.


Jim Roth, corporation commission

Roth was appointed to this powerful statewide regulatory commission by Gov. Brad Henry after winning two terms on the Oklahoma county commission and is now running to keep the seat. If he wins, Roth would be the first openly gay statewide elected official in Oklahoma.


Kate Brown, secretary of state

Currently the majority leader in Oregon's senate, Brown, who is bisexual, could become the first out LGBT person in the nation to serve at the level of secretary of state. In Oregon, the office is the second-highest ranking elected post.

South Carolina

Linda Ketner, U.S. House of Representatives

This businesswoman hopes to represent South Carolina's 1st District--stretching along the moderate east coast of the state--in the U.S. Congress. Ketner would be the first openly gay elected official in South Carolina. She faces an entrenched Republican incumbent, though some polls show her within striking distance of victory.


Lupe Valdez, sheriff, Dallas County

Valdez became the first woman, first Hispanic, and first openly gay person elected to this post when she won in 2004. Republicans--still smarting from losing this seat for the first time in three decades--have thrown a lot of money at defeating Valdez in 2008.

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