Valdez, Beyer and Sims – Photos: Facebook.
The LGBTQ Victory Fund has endorsed 14 more candidates throughout the nation, with their biggest endorsement going to Texas gubernatorial candidate Lupe Valdez, the former sheriff of Dallas County.
Valdez, an out lesbian, will face off against businessman Andrew White, the son of former Gov. Mark White, in a May 22 runoff for the Democratic nomination to take on Gov. Greg Abbott, a fierce opponent of LGBTQ rights.
Valdez was awarded “Game Changer” status, a designation given to high-profile federal or statewide races that can have an outsized impact on equality.
Closer to home, Dana Beyer, a former eye surgeon and longtime grassroots political activist who is also transgender, earned the Victory Fund’s endorsement for the 18th State Senate District of Maryland. That seat is being vacated by openly gay State Sen. Rich Madaleno, who is running for governor. Madaleno and Beyer squared off four years ago, with Madaleno earning the backing of Equality Maryland and the Democratic Party establishment. National LGBTQ groups, including Victory Fund and the Human Rights Campaign, declined to get involved in the race four years ago.
David Ermold – Photo: Facebook.
Victory Fund also endorsed David Ermold, the openly gay man running for Clerk of Kentucky’s Rowan County against the infamous Kim Davis, who has become a figurehead for groups seeking to overturn marriage equality. In 2015, Davis went to jail for contempt of court after she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Ermold, who had been denied a marriage license by Davis during that controversy, announced his intention to challenge her earlier this year.
Incumbent politicians earning endorsements include Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims, who has a large following on social media and has been attacked by Republican leaders in the legislature for speaking favorably of pro-LGBTQ court decisions on marriage equality on the House floor, as well as: Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey; Steve Glassman, of the Fort Lauderdale City Commission; and Arizona State Rep. Daniel Hernandez, who, as an intern, was hailed for his heroism during the 2011 Tucson shooting and near-assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).
Newcomers earning endorsements include Cecil Brockman, running for the North Carolina Houst of Representatives; Malcolm Kenyatta, running for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives; Ricardo Lara, seeking to become California’s Insurance Commissioner; Felicia Stewart, running for the Alabama House of Representatives; Jennifer Webb, running for the Florida House of Representatives; and Ricardo White, candidate for the Michigan House of Representatives.
“We have an unprecedented number of LGBTQ people running for office this cycle — some running races to become historic firsts and others running to take out anti-LGBTQ incumbents and be champions for all their constituents,” Victory Fund President and CEO Annise Parker, the former mayor of Houston, said in a statement.
“These 14 candidates are values-driven leaders who are committed to equality, but are equally determined to fight for the bread and butter issues important to their communities,” Parker added. “We have the opportunity to dramatically increase LGBTQ representation in local governments, state legislatures and the governors’ mansions, so Victory Fund is all-in to ensure our endorsed candidates win on Election Day.”