LGBTQ Candidates Make History in Democratic Primaries Across U.S.

Last night was a huge night for Democrats, and an even bigger night for the LGBTQ community. Texas Democrats nominated Lupe Valdez, who could be the nation’s first openly lesbian governor and the first openly LGBTQ person of color to hold any statewide elected office. Additionally, Texas Democrats nominated Gina Ortiz Jones and Eric Holguin who, if elected, will become the first openly LGBTQ Asian American woman and Latinx in Congress, respectively.


Here’s a snapshot of some of the new LGBTQ candidate successes so far this primary season:





Lupe Valdez: Lupe Valdez became the first openly lesbian gubernatorial nominee of any major party. If elected, she would also be the first openly LGBTQ person of color to serve as governor and the first Latinx to serve as governor of Texas.


Gina Ortiz Jones (TX-23): If elected, Ortiz Jones would be Congress’ first openly LGBTQ woman of color and first openly LGBTQ Asian American woman.


Eric Holguin (TX-27):  If elected, Holguin would become Congress’ first openly LGBTQ Latinx congressman and the first openly gay Latinx man in Congress.


Lorie Burch (TX-03): If elected, Burch would be among the first LGBTQ congresswomen from Texas.



Tippi McCullough (HD-33): Facing no Republican opposition in November, McCullough will become the only openly LGBTQ person in the Arkansas state legislature. McCullough’s win comes 5 years after she was forced to resign her teaching job because she was LGBTQ.



Matthew Wilson (HD-58): If elected, Wilson will join numerous openly LGBTQ officials pushing back on Georgia Republicans’ anti-LGBTQ legislative agenda. Georgia’s LGBTQ caucus is among the most diverse LGBTQ caucuses in the nation, including:

  • Park Cannon (HD-58):  first openly queer woman of color elected in Georgia
  • Sam Park (HD-101): first openly gay Asian American elected in Georgia and first openly gay man elected to the state legislature
  • Renitta Shannon (HD-84): first openly bisexual woman of color to serve in Georgia.
  • Karla Drenner (HD-85): first openly lesbian member of the Georgia House of Representatives






J.D. Ford (SD-29):  If elected, Ford will become the first out member of the Indiana state Senate.


Indiana Democrats have also nominated 3 candidates for the Indiana state House, who would all make history together as the first openly LGBTQ members of the body:

  • Thomasina Marsili (HD-46)
  • Joe Lannan (HD-63)
  • Sarah Stivers (HD-70)




Lamont Robinson (HD-05): If elected, Robinson will become the first openly gay African-American state legislator in Illinois history.


Maggie Trevor (HD-54): If elected, Trevor will become the 2nd openly LGBTQ woman in the Illinois General Assembly, joining Kelly Cassidy.




Rick Neal (OH-15): If elected, Neal will beocme the first openly LGBTQ person elected to Congress from Ohio. Neal will be challenging NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers.


Nickie Antonio (SD-23): Antonio became the first openly LGBTQ candidate elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 2010. If elected, she will also become the first openly LGBTQ person elected to the Ohio state Senate.




Malcolm Kenyatta (HD-181): Kenyatta overcame an overtly bigoted smear campaign and if elected, will become the Pennsylvania House’s first openly LGBTQ person of color. Kenyatta also served a delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention hosted by the DNC.


Kristen Seale (HD-168): Seale is the first openly queer Democratic nominee in Pennsylvania. If elected, she will be the first openly LGBTQ woman in the Pennsylvania state House.


Daniel Smith Jr. (HD-12): Smith is challenging Republican Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, one of the most anti-LGBTQ state legislators in Pennsylvania, who sued to prevent a gay couple from marrying, introduced legislation banning same-sex marriage and said openly gay Rep. Brian Sims was a “lying homosexual” and “in open rebellion against God’s law.”




Jamie McLeod-Skinner (OR-02):  McLeod-Skinner was the first out lesbian elected to the Santa Clara City Council and will be taking on Congressman Greg Walden, former chair of the NRCC. If elected, McLeod Skinner would become the first openly LGBTQ person elected to Congress from Oregon.




North Carolina Democrats have nominated a candidate in every single legislative district this year, including more LGBTQ people than ever, including:

  • Brandon Anderson (SD-45)
  • Cecil Brockman (HD-60)
  • Deb Butler (HD-18)
  • Linda Bennett (HD-26)
  • Allison Dahle (HD-11)
  • Marcia Morgan (HD-19)
  • Dan Whitten (HD-15)