Metro Weekly

Number of LGBTQ candidates who ran for office in 2018 is larger than previously estimated

Over 600 LGBTQ candidates ran for office in 2018, with almost 400 on the ballot this November

Lauren Baer, candidate for Congress; Nelson Araujo, candidate for Florida Secretary of State; Maryland State Del. Mary Washington, candidate for State Senate; Georgia State Rep. Sam Park – Photos: Facebook.

The number of LGBTQ candidates who sought political office in 2018 is higher than expected, according to the most recent statistics compiled by the LGBTQ Victory Fund.

At least 606 openly LGBTQ candidates ran for office in 2018, with 390 appearing on the ballot this November. That represents a significant jump from the 430 who were initially counted two weeks ago.

Annise Parker, the president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, has regularly talked about a “Rainbow Wave” of LGBTQ candidates who have been inspired to run this year, far surpassing the number of out candidates who ran in previous election cycles.

This year’s tally includes 91 people who sought seats in the U.S. Congress, 10 who ran for governor, and 299 who sought statewide or state legislative seats, with the remainder running for various local offices.

“An unprecedented Rainbow Wave of openly LGBTQ candidates is running for office this year — shattering previous records and breaking down long-held political barriers for our community,” Parker, who also served for six years as the mayor of Houston, said in a statement.

Of the 390 who will appear on the ballot this November, 30 are running for the U.S. Senate or the U.S. House of Representatives, four are running for governor, and 213 are running for statewide office or state legislative seats.

Victory Fund, which seeks to elect out LGBTQ people to office, endorsed 272 during the cycle, and 229 of them won their primaries and qualified for the general election.

“While the numbers themselves are impressive, we are also running for higher-level offices in larger numbers and in places across the country unthinkable just a few years ago,” Parker added. “Whether electing the first openly trans governor in the United States or tripling the number of LGBTQ women in the U.S. Congress, we have an opportunity to turn this Rainbow Wave of LGBTQ candidates into a Rainbow Wave of LGBTQ elected officials on Election Day.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at

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