This year, 500 LGBTQ candidates will appear on ballots all over the USA, more than ever before, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund. These LGBTQ candidates are also more racially diverse than in past elections.
Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, president of the LGBTQ Victory Fund:
”A historic number of openly LGBTQ people are running for office this year and we have the opportunity to elect an unprecedented number on Election Day. While LGBTQ candidates are significantly more diverse than U.S. candidates overall, we must continue to break down the barriers LGBTQ people of color, women and trans people face when considering a run for office. Our government must reflect the diversity of America.”
At least 574 openly LGBTQ people are running for office this year, up from 432 in 2018. That is 33 percent increase.
There are eight nonincumbent LGBTQ candidates running for the House of Representatives. If they all win, they would more than double the number of LGBTQ Representatives, moving from seven to 15. There are currently two LGBTQ Senators, both Democrats: Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin, and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. They are not up for reelection until the 2022 midterms.
Some of these LGBTQ congressional candidates are trying to unseat incumbent conservatives. Tracy Mitrano, a lawyer and cybersecurity expert, is challenging incumbent Republican Tom Reed in New York’s 23rd Congressional District.
”This district can do better than what it has had as representation in Congress for the past 10 years. Affordable health care, good education, infrastructure, the internet. Let’s get jobs back, but the only way you’re going to do that is if you lay the foundation of health and education and infrastructure.”
Retied U.S. Air Force Captain Gina Ortiz Jones is challanging Republican nominee Tony Gonzales, a Navy vet, in the Texas 23rd Congressional District. When she wins, Jones will be the first Filipino-American woman to serve in Congress and the first openly gay representative from Texas.
”I really felt called to protect the opportunities that allowed me to grow up healthy, get an education and serve our country. That made my story, my service, possible, and that’s why I’m so committed to fighting for working families in this district.”
Jon Hoadley is in his third term as a Michigan state representative. Now Hoadley is challenging incumbent Fred Upton, who has opposed nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people and voted to ban same-sex marriage, for Representative for Michigan’s 6th congressional district. Upton has served since 1987. When Hoadley wins, he will be Michigan’s first openly gay congressman.
”For his entire political career, Fred Upton has worked to deny basic rights and protections to LGBTQ people – so it will be poetic justice when he is defeated by an openly gay challenger. Few 2020 Congressional races are more important than this one – a swing seat in a swing state with a stark choice for voters. Jon aims to uplift all constituents and put real people at the center of his decision-making, while Fred Upton continues to play cynical politics with people’s lives and well-being.”
Nearly a third of the LGBTQ candidates who are running this year are people of color, compared to just 10 percent of all candidates who ran in 2018.
Democrats Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones, are running for New York’s 15th and 17th Congressional districts, respectively. Both these gentlemen will be the first Black gay men elected to Congress when they win on November 3.
Representative Sharice Davids won her House seat in 2018 and became the first openly LGBTQ Native American woman elected to Congress, and the first LGBTQ person from Kansas elected to federal office. She is back this election and is favored to beat her Republican challenger.
Georgette Gomez is currently on the San Diego City Council. She is running for the open seat left by Representative Susan Davis, a Democrat who is retiring from the California 53rd. Gomez would be the first Latinx LGBTQ member of Congress.
The number of transgender candidates decreased since 2018, but the number of candidates identifying as genderqueer, nonbinary or gender-nonconforming went from 6 in 2018 to 25 in 2020.
Louise Snodgrass has the chance to become the first genderqueer state legislator in South Dakota. Sarah McBride looks likely to become the first openly transgender person elected to the Delaware General Assembly and the first transgender state senator anywhere in the USA. Taylor Small is probably going to become the first openly transgender state legislator in Vermont. Stephanie Byers is also favored to win her race against her Republican challenger to fill the open seat in the Kansas state legislature, becoming the first openly transgender legislator in the Kansas House of Representatives.
Jessica Katzenmeyer is running for Wisconsin State Assembly, and Madeline Eden is running for the Texas House of Representatives. If elected, both women would be the first openly transgender lawmakers in their state legislatures.
California, Texas and Florida have the highest number of LGBTQ candidates running in 2020. These candidates would make a huge impact on the Texas House of Representatives, where Democrats need to pick up nine seats to flip that chamber. Several LGBTQ candidates are in key races, including lesbians Ann Johnson and Eliz Markowitz.
Of course, Alabama is the only state that has zero openly LGBTQ person running for office. State Representative Neil Rafferty is the only openly LGBTQ person holding in office in Alabama.
Five states: Alaska, Tennessee, Louisiana, Delaware and Mississippi have never elected an openly LGBTQ state legislator. That could change with McBride in Delaware. Lesbian Lyn Franks is running for the state Legislature in Alaska, and Torrey Harris, a bisexual man, and Brandon Thomas, a gay guy, are running for the state house in Tennessee.
Only 0.17 percent of the roughly half million elected officials in the USA are LGBTQ. LGBTQ people make up 10 percent percent of the U.S. population; to achieve equitable representation there would need to be 22,544 more of them in elected office.
Source: LGBTQ Victory Fund and MSNBC.