Metro Weekly

Victory Fund has backed 272 candidates this November in hopes of generating a “Rainbow Wave”

More highly-qualified LGBTQ candidates are seeking office this year, but they are almost all exclusively Democrats

Annise Parker – Photo: Zblume, via Wikimedia.

The LGBTQ Victory Fund is banking on the idea that a “Rainbow Wave” will help change the face of the nation’s elected leaders this November.

The organization, which seeks to elect LGBTQ people to public office, has endorsed 272 candidates for various positions up and down the ballot.

Victory Fund staff say the record-breaking number of endorsements — shattering the old record of 180 set during the 2012 cycle — reflect the number of highly-qualified LGBTQ candidates seeking office this year.

In total, more than 430 openly LGBTQ people sought some type of office this year.

“Never before in our 27-year history have we seen so many viable and qualified LGBTQ leaders standing up to run for office,” Annise Parker, the president and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, said in a statement. “While the Rainbow Wave of LGBTQ candidates is impressive in numbers, we are also running for more high-level offices than ever before and for positions where no openly LGBTQ person has served. We can elect our first out trans governor, our first representatives to the Kansas and Nebraska state legislatures, and a historic number of LGBTQ leaders to Congress.

“This surge in LGBTQ political power is important not only because the LGBTQ community needs us, but because America needs us,” added Parker, who served as the mayor of Houston from 2010 to 2016. “Our nation needs more values-driven leaders determined to find solutions to the issues that matter most to everyday Americans — and they are finding those leaders in our LGBTQ candidates.”

The Victory Fund noted in a news release that the number of LGBTQ-identified women nominees for Congress is at its highest level ever.

There are two LGBTQ major-party nominees seeking U.S. Senate seats — Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — and 19 major-party nominees seeking U.S. House seats, 11 of whom are women.

The total number of LGBTQ candidates running marks a 24% increase over the number of candidates who ran during the 2016 cycle.

Unfortunately, while Victory Fund is nonpartisan, there are zero openly LGBTQ Republican congressional candidates who will appear on the general election ballot.

Similarly, while seven known LGBTQ candidates ran for governorships this year, of the four who won their party’s nomination, all are Democrats: Lupe Valdez of Texas, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado, Christine Hallquist of Vermont, and incumbent Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon.

There are some openly LGBTQ candidates seeking position in state legislatures or in local government positions, including at least six in Connecticut.

“The dramatic spike in openly LGBTQ people running for the highest levels of government is thrilling but one-sided, with zero openly LGBTQ Republican Congressional or gubernatorial nominees. The anti-LGBTQ policies pursued by the White House and in extreme-right state legislatures has led to few openly LGBTQ people running in a Republican primary — and those who do are too often sidelined by homophobic or transphobic political forces,” Parker said in a statement. 

“Instead of a Rainbow Wave that should be celebrated by all Americans who believe in the wisdom of a truly representative government, we have a historic moment that is almost entirely partisan,” she added. “This story will not change until the party of Lincoln rejects the divisive rhetoric and policies too many of its leaders rely on.”

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

Leave a Comment: