Ritchie Torres, left, Sarah McBride, right
Election results for LGBTQ candidates across the country were a mixed bag
Lisa Keen | Keen News Service
Despite the ongoing uncertainty over the race for president, there was some good news for LGBTQ candidates across the country after Tuesday’s elections as well as some bad news.
Democrats did not manage to take control of the U.S. Senate. While they did win two new seats (from Colorado and Arizona), they also lost two (Alabama and Michigan). There is still an opportunity to pick up another seat in a run-off in Georgia, but the Democrats will fall short of reaching a 51-seat majority.
The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund had supported 312 openly LGBT candidates in Tuesday’s election, and while many of those races remained unsettled by Dallas Voice’s deadline, some of those wins were amazing victories, including the first transgender person elected to a state senate, the first transgender state legislator elected in Kansas — who also is the first trans person of color elected to any state legislature — and the first two openly-LGBTQ Black people elected to Congress.
Of the 15 openly LGBT people running for Congress, nine had been declared winners by noon Wednesday. Seven of those were incumbents, but two of those incumbents won by very slim margins.
First-termer Rep. Angie Craig of Minnesota’s Second Congressional ended with a 2-point win over her Republican challenger. Just days prior to Tuesday’s vote, Craig won an important victory at the U.S. Supreme Court after her Republican opponent attempted to derail the voting by filing a legal action to delay the election until February, based on the sudden death in September of a third party candidate — one who had acknowledged, before his death, that Republicans had recruited him to run third party as a strategy to defeat Craig.
In New York’s 18th Congressional district, which includes northern suburbs of New York City, four-term Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney held onto a two-point lead over his Republican opponent to win re-election. Incumbent U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas staved off a tough challenge in his bid for a second term representing New Hampshire’s First Congressional District. Pappas’ Republican opponent had attempted to play up Pappas’ relationship with a male lobbyist for Amazon.
Other LGBT incumbents — David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Sharice Davids of Kansas, Mark Pocan of Wisconsin and Mark Takano of California — all easily won re-election.
Two of the brightest spots among the openly LGBT winners Tuesday had to be two Black gay men in New York — Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones. Torres won 88 percent of the vote in his first bid for the Congressional seat representing the Bronx. Jones won by 14 points and will now represent southern New York.
Among the other six openly LGBT challengers seeking Congressional seats Tuesday, all six appear to have lost their bids, including Jon Hoadley in Michigan’s Sixth Congressional District, which includes Kalamazoo, and Gina Ortiz Jones in Texas’ 23rd, which includes San Antonio. (See story, Page 7)
In other LGBT election news
Fort Lauderdale’s incumbent openly gay Mayor Dean Trantalis easily won re-election Tuesday night.
Lesbian Alexsis Rodgers came in third in her bid to become mayor of Richmond, Va.
Transgender candidates did well on Tuesday. Sarah McBride became the first transgender person to win a state senate seat in Delaware, and Taylor Small became the first openly transgender person elected to the legislature in Vermont.
Stephanie Byers became the first openly transgender person to be elected to the Kansas state House and the first transgender person of color ever elected to a state legislature in the U.S. And Colorado incumbent State Rep. Brianna Titone appears to have won re-election to her seat, despite Republican efforts to paint her as a “radical” threat to “your wives and daughters.”
Kim Jackson won a state senate seat in Georgia, becoming the first openly LGBT person to win a seat in the Georgia senate and one of only three black lesbians to win state senate seats anywhere in the U.S.
Shevrin Jones won his race for the Florida state senate, becoming the first openly LGBT person to win a Florida senate seat. Jabari Brisport became the first LGBT person of color to win a seat in the New York legislature, running unopposed for a seat representing Brooklyn in the state senate. Tennessee elected its first two openly LGBT people to the state house: Democrat Torrey Harris, a bisexual from Memphis, and gay Republican Ed Mannis of Knoxville.
In Cincinnati, lesbian Democrat Charmaine McGuffey has become the first openly LGBT person to be elected sheriff in Hamilton County, Ohio. It was an especially sweet victory since McGuffey had been fired from her job as a Hamilton County sheriff’s deputy because, she said, she was a lesbian. She easily defeated the sheriff who fired her — Jim Neil — in the Democratic Primary, and Tuesday defeated Republican candidate Bruce Hoffbauer with 52 percent of the vote.
Kristin Graziano became the first openly lesbian sheriff in South Carolina when she won her race in Charleston County.
Helen Whitener won re-election to the Washington Supreme Court, handily defeating her opponent and becoming the first Black woman and the second openly gay person to be elected to the court.
Marko Liias lost his bid to become Washington State’s lieutenant governor. And Bryce Bennett appears to have lost his bid to become Montana Secretary of State.
Vernetta Alston has won a seat in the North Carolina House of Representatives, and Liz Bennett won a seat in the Iowa House to become the only LGBTQ member of the Iowa General Assembly. Brett Blomme became the second openly gay man elected to a Wisconsin judiciary seat with his Wisconsin County Circuit Court win, and Harry Bronson won a seat in the New York State Assembly.
Also claiming firsts are Christopher Constant and Felix Rivera, who became the first two openly LGBTQ people elected in Alaska by winning seats on the Anchorage Assembly, and Allison Dahle, the first openly LGBTQ member of the North Carolina state Legislature since she won a seat in the House of Representatives.
Elias Diaz won a seat on the Eagle Pass, Texas, City Council, becoming that city’s first LGBTQ elected official, and Rosemary Ketchum became Wheeling, W. Va.’s first openly transgender elected official with her victory in her race for Wheeling City Council.
In Vermont, Bill Lippert won a seat in the House of Representatives, while Marcia More became one of only three openly LGBTQ members of the North Carolina state House with her win on Tuesday. In Oregon, Karin Power became the first openly LGBTQ woman elected to serve District 41 in the Oregon House of Representatives.
Other Victory Fund-endorsed candidates known to have won their races are Max Prestigiacomo, who became the youngest elected official in the state of Wisconsin when he won a seat on the Madison Common Council; John Strand, who became one of only two openly LGBTQ elected officials in North Dakota by winning a seat on the Fargo City Commission; Peter Yacobellis, who is the first out member of the Montclair Town Council in New Jersey with his win on Tuesday, and JoCasta Zamarripa, who became the first openly LGBTQ member of the Milwaukee Common Council with her victory this week.
Dave Coulter won a full term as Oakland County executive in Michigan. Todd Gloria won his race for mayor of San Diego. Carrie Hamblin won a seat in the New Mexico state Senate, and Kim Johnson won a seat in the Georgia state Senate. Tiara Mack won a seat in the Rhode Island state Senate, and in Missouri, Greg Razer won a senate seat,
In Florida, Shevrin Jones was unopposed in his race for the state senate, and Michele Rayner was unopposed in her bid for a seat in the Florida House.
David Ortiz was elected to the Colorado state House, and in Hawaii, Adrian Tam was elected to the state House.
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