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15 LGBTQ candidates running for office in the US this year

15 LGBTQ candidates running for office in the US this year

Gina Ortiz Jones, the lesbian Air Force vet running for Congress.

The midterm elections in the United States occur this year on 6 November — and several LGBTQ candidates are running.

Midterms are general elections that take place the two years after a presidential election. They focus on seats in Congress (both House and Senate), governor races, and other various state and local offices.

This year is critical for Democrats looking to take back at least a portion of the government.

After their major victories last year — including Danica Roem, Doug Jones in Alabama, and others — energy is higher than normal in a midterm election year.

More women, people of color, and LGBTQ candidates are running than ever before. Here are 15 LGBTQ candidates to keep an eye on.

Nelson Araujo seeing RENT.
Nelson Araujo seeing RENT. | Photo: Twitter @NelsonAraujoNV

Nelson Araujo (Nevada)

Born to El Salvadorian immigrant parents, Araujo is currently serving as a Democrat in the state House of Representatives. He’s now seeking the position go Secretary of State.

If he wins, he’ll be the first openly LGBTQ person elected statewide in Nevada. He’ll also be the second openly LGBTQ Secretary of State in the US.

Previously, he got several bills signed into law, including Assembly Bill 99. This bill increased protections for LGBTQ kids in foster care.

Lauren Baer (Florida)

An attorney and foreign policy expert, Baer is hoping to be the first lesbian elected to Congress from Florida. She’s seeking a position in the House. She would also be one of the first LGBTQ mothers in Congress.

Elsewhere in Florida, David Richardson is hoping to be the first gay man elected to Congress from the state — also in the House.

Angie Craig (Minnesota)

Craig is running for Minnesota’s House of Representatives. She wants to be the first openly LGBTQ person in the body. Like Baer, she would also be an LGBTQ mother in Congress.

First, however, she has to win the Democratic primary on 14 August.

If she wins, she won’t be Minnesota’s only victory. Last year, Andrea Jenkins was the first trans woman of color elected to public office.

Pat Davis (New Mexico)

Davis currently serves on the Albuquerque City Council but is now setting his sights on Congress. If he wins the primary on 5 June, and then the general election in November, he’ll be the first openly LGBTQ member of Congress from New Mexico.

Gray at a campaign event.
Gray at a campaign event. | Photo: Twitter @JimGrayCongress

Jim Gray (Kentucky)

Alabama isn’t the only Southern state looking to blue, rather than red.

Gray, who’s currently the mayor of Lexington, wants to be the first openly LGBTQ Congressman from Kentucky. His primary is on 22 May.

Steven Kirkland (Texas)

Kirkland is a judge, currently serving Texas’ Harris County as a District Court Judge. Now, running as a Democrat, he’s hoping to make it to the state’s Supreme Court. If he does, he’ll be the first openly LGBTQ statewide official in Texas.

His primary is one of the earliest — it’s on 6 March.

Richard Madaleno (Maryland)

In 2012, Maryland became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage by ballot. Madaleno, as a Senator, led that victory.

Now, he’s seeking to become the first LGBTQ governor of the state. He would also be the first openly gay man to server as governor — but perhaps not the only one this year. His primary is on 26 June.

Tippi McCullough running for office.
Running for office. | Photo: Twitter @ElectTippi

Tippi McCullough (Arkansas)

McCullough is a teacher in Arkansas. Higher-ups fired her in 2013 after she married her partner. Now, running as a Democrat alongside everyone else on this list, she’s seeking a spot in Arkansas’ House of Representatives.

If she wins her primary on 22 May and goes on to win the general, she’ll be the only openly LGBTQ woman in the Arkansas State Legislature.

Josh Mers (Kentucky)

Going back to Kentucky, Mers is fighting to join the state’s House of Reps. He’ll be the only openly LGBTQ member of the state legislature.

He’s currently a Commissioner of Human Rights for the City of Lexington and his primary is on 22 May.

Jeremy Moss (Michigan)

Moss is in his second term in Michigan’s House of Representatives. This year, he’s hoping to transition into the Senate and be the only openly LGBTQ member of the Michigan State Senate. His primary is on 8 August.

Gina Ortiz Jones, the lesbian Air Force vet running for Congress.
Jones is hoping to add to the wave of Democratic wins. | Photo: Twitter @ginaortizjones

Gina Ortiz Jones (Texas)

Jones announced her candidacy earlier this year. She’s an Iraq War veteran and has a 14-year career in national security under her belt.

With a primary on 6 March, she’s running to join Texas’ House. If she wins, she’ll be the first openly LGBTQ person elected to Congress from Texas and the second LGBTQ woman of color in Congress.

Chris Pappas (New Hampshire)

Currently on New Hampshire’s Executive Council, Pappas wants to be the state’s first openly LGBTQ Congressman. His primary is on 11 September.

Jared Polis (Colorado)

Polis, like Madaleno, is seeking to be the first openly gay man elected as a state governor (or perhaps in tandem with Madaleno). He’s currently serving the House of Representatives. He also serves on several Committees and his primary is on 26 June.

Sinema in a campaign video
Sinema in a campaign video. | Photo: Twitter @KyrstenSinema

Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona)

Sinema is aiming for several significant firsts. Currently serving in the House, she’s switching lanes to run for Senate in Arizona.

If she wins, she’ll be the first openly bisexual Senator and the first female Senator from Arizona. Her primary is on 28 August.

Fran Watson (Texas)

Last but not least, Watson is a Democratic candidate running for the Texas State Senate in District 17. If she wins, she’ll become the first openly LGBTQ and the third black woman elected to the Texas Senate. Her primary is on 6 March.

More information on all these candidates can be found at Victory Fund.