Eliz Markowitz

Eliz Markowitz finished first in her race for Texas House District 28 near Houston with 39 percent of the vote. Because no one in that race received 50 percent, she will be in a runoff with Gary Gates, who came in second with 28 percent.

Should Markowitz win in the December runoff, she would increase the size of the LGBT Caucus by one.

Although she finished first, she may be in a difficult position. As the only Democrat in the race, more than 60 percent of the voters cast ballots for a Republican candidate. Gates stands a good chance of winning a large percentage of those votes.

Markowitz needs to pick up votes from those who cast ballots from her opponents. Gaining an endorsement from any of them will help. And as always in a runoff, turnout will determine the winner.

In Dallas, Lorraine Birabil and James Armstrong face each other in a January runoff for the state House District 100 seat that was vacated earlier this year by Eric Johnson when he was elected Dallas mayor. Birabil has been endorsed by Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

In other races, Danica Roem, a transgender member of the Virginia House of Delegates, won her reelection bid despite a national effort by right-wing groups to get her out of office. She won by a 57-43 percent margin, larger than in her first election bid. Her opponents ran a nasty, anti-trans campaign against her that backfired.

The Fox News owned New York Post reported:

In the closing days of the campaign, Roem accused her opponent of releasing an anti-trans add [sic] that accused Roem of sponsoring a bill “to force all insurance companies to pay for harmful and unnecessary ‘gender transition’ surgeries.”

In Virginia, four other LGBT candidates were also elected to the House and Senate and control of both houses flipped to the Democrats.

In the Kentucky governor’s race, pro-equality Democrat Andy Beshear ousted anti-equality Gov. Matt Bevin. That could be a significant trend in that state where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is up for re-election next year.

— David Taffet