Blue wave? Maybe. Rainbow Wave? DEFINITELY.
We did it! A record-breaking number of candidates who identify as LGBTQ triumphed in their elections last night, many of them making history in their home states.
Sharice Davids, an out lesbian, won a bitter fight to unseat GOP incumbent Kevin Yoder in Kansas’s 3rd congressional district. Davids, a Democrat, won decisively with over 53 percent of the vote. Her election victory makes her the first LGBTQ person and the first Native American to represent Kansas in the U.S. Congress.
Jared Polis, who is projected to be the next governor of Colorado, will become the nation’s first gay man to be elected governor in any state. He’s made history once before, in 2011, as the first gay parent in Congress. At the time of this writing, with 84 percent of precincts reporting, Polis, a Democrat, is beating Republican opponent Walker Stapleton (51 percent to 45 percent).
Chris Pappas is projected to become New Hampshire’s first-ever openly gay member of Congress. The Democrat will represent the Granite State’s 1st congressional district. With 92 percent of the vote counted, as of now, Pappas comfortably leads his race against Republican opponent Eddie Edwards (53 percent to 45 percent).
Angie Craig, a Democrat, has unseated anti-LGBTQ Republican congressman Jason Lewis in Minnesota. As a married lesbian, Craig is now the first openly gay person from that state to be elected to Congress. She beat Lewis with nearly 53 percent of the vote and will represent Minnesota’s 2nd congressional district.
Kate Brown, the nation’s first out bisexual governor, is projected to win re-election in Oregon. With 91 percent of precincts reporting at the time of this writing, Brown, a Democrat, has edged past Republican challenger Knute Buehler (50 percent to 44 percent). After a tight race, Buehler has conceded.
Tammy Baldwin, a married lesbian who made history six years ago as the nation’s first LGBTQ senator, is projected to be re-elected in Wisconsin. Baldwin will handily beat Republican challenger Leah Vukmir (55 percent to 45 percent) with 99 percent of the vote counted. Her win is a much-needed Democratic hold as the GOP has expanded their control of the U.S. Senate.
In addition to these big national wins, a huge number of LGBTQ candidates won state and local races, including Gerri Cannon and Lisa Bunker, two openly trans candidates who won seats in the New Hampshire state legislature. Brandon Woodard and Susan Ruiz have become the first out LGBTQ lawmakers in Kansas. Malcolm Kenyatta is now the first LGBTQ Black legislator to be elected in the state of Pennsylvania.
Honorable mention goes to Felicia Stewart, an out lesbian Democrat who ran a brave and valiant grassroots campaign for the state legislature in deep-red Alabama. Although she is projected to lose against the GOP incumbent, Stewart has shaken things up down there. She’s opened the door for liberals and progressives (and LGBTQs) to be visible, despite social stigma.
Massachusetts also made history last night by voting yes on 3—meaning the constituents voted to uphold trans rights. It’s a law that protects trans people from discrimination in public spaces (i.e., bathrooms or locker rooms). Opponents to this two-year-old law were trying to get it rebuked in the name of “privacy” and “safety.” But the right side of history prevailed last night, and trans people will continue to have legal protections from discrimination in public spaces in Massachusetts. Hopefully, the rest of the country will follow suit.
And remember Kim Davis? The hateful, homophobic clerk who refused to sign marriage licenses for same-sex couples in Rowan County, Kentucky? And went to jail for it? She lost re-election last night. That’s a significant cherry on our big, beautiful rainbow cake of victory.
Time to celebrate!