Metro Weekly

Equality PAC Urges Voters to Back LGBTQ Candidates for Congress

Political action committee urges voters to select 16 LGBTQ candidates in Tuesday's primary elections.

equality pac
Equality PAC endorsees (clockwise from top left) Ritchie Torres, Angie Craig, Eric Sorenson, Sharice Davids, Heather Mizeur, and Chris Pappas – Photos: Equality PAC.

A congressional LGBTQ political action committee is urging voters to elect or re-elect 16 LGBTQ people seeking seats in the U.S. Congress on Tuesday. 

Equality PAC, the political action committee that advocates for greater LGBTQ representation in Congress, sent out a message on Monday to its supporters advising them to support eight incumbent members of Congress — all Democrats — and eight non-incumbents.

Currently, there are nine incumbent LGBTQ members of the U.S. House of Representatives. But New York Congressman Mondaire Jones, who is gay, was forced to relocate to another district, where he lost the primary, following a court-ordered redistricting that placed him in the same district as out gay Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. 

Given the political realities of the districts they represent, at least half of the remaining incumbents — Maloney, Kansas Congresswoman Sharice Davids, Minnesota Congresswoman Angie Craig, and New Hampshire Congressman Chris Pappas — are in races rated “tossups” by most political prognosticators.

The remaining four endorsees — California Congressman Mark Takano and Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline, who are the co-chairs of Equality PAC, as well as New York Congressman Ritchie Torres and Wisconsin Congressman Mark Pocan — are all expected to be victorious on Tuesday.

The non-incumbents who have been endorsed by Equality PAC in competitive races are: Robert Zimmerman, a New Yorker who is running for a swing seat on Long Island; Eric Sorenson, a meteorologist running for a rural and “Rust Belt” seat in northwestern Illinois; and Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a businesswoman in a newly drawn district that ties together some of the Portland suburbs and the city of Bend with swaths of rural Oregon.

Equality PAC ndorsees who face uphill battles in strongly Republican districts are: Heather Mizeur, a former Maryland state representative and farmer running to represent parts of the Eastern Shore and the Baltimore exurbs; Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, a county commissioner running to represent Asheville and rural western North Carolina; and Will Rollins, a former military prosecutor challenging Republican U.S. Rep. Ken Calvert in a district that ties some of the reddest parts of Orange and Riverside counties with LGBTQ enclaves like Palm Springs and other “Desert Cities.”

Lastly, Equality PAC has also endorsed Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, who is favored in a Democratic district and would be the first LGBTQ immigrant ever elected to Congress; and Becca Balint, the Vermont Senate President Pro Tempore, who is expected become the first woman and LGBTQ official elected to Congress from Vermont.

“Throughout the primary and general election process, Equality PAC met with numerous candidates and campaigns to discuss their visions for how we can advance equality and support the LGBTQ community,” co-chairs Takano and Cicillines said in a statement. “Equality PAC has endorsed 16 diverse LGBTQ House candidates that represent the best our community has to offer.

“We urge voters who live in these communities where our candidates are running to support their bid for office and help us grow our LGBTQ numbers in the House,” they added. “Tomorrow is your chance to make history and our opportunity to further protect our community.”

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