Endorsement Criteria

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund endorses openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) political candidates for local, state and federal elective offices.

To be considered for endorsement, candidates must: 

  • be openly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender;
  • demonstrate community support and a realistic plan to win;
  • demonstrate support of federal, state or local efforts to advance LGBT civil rights via the legislative or regulatory process*; and
  • demonstrate support of federal, state or local efforts to safeguard privacy and reproductive freedom.*

Frequently asked questions: 

How do I apply for endorsement?

All applicants must fill out a candidate application to be considered for endorsement.  Contact candidate.application@victoryfund.org to request an application.

Candidates who are not the incumbent holder of the offices they seek will be asked to fill out a comprehensive candidate questionnaire prior to being considered.  Victory staff will send you the questionnaire via e-mail upon receipt of your completed application.

Victory staff reviews applications on a rolling basis and recommends candidates for endorsement to the Victory Campaign Board throughout the year. The Victory Campaign Board is a national body of community leaders tasked with recruiting, endorsing and raising money for Victory candidates.

Does Victory automatically endorse any LGBT candidate? 

No.  Victory evaluates every application thoroughly and gives careful consideration to each candidate.  After that review, candidates that are deemed to meet the endorsement criteria are eligible for endorsement.  This ensures that we are able to direct resources where they have the most impact on our mission, which is to drive progress for LGBT Americans by electing out public officials.

Does Victory endorse candidates for the U.S. House or Senate? 

Yes.  However, in order to demonstrate electoral viability, an openly LGBT candidate for the United States House of Representatives or Senate generally will have already held public office in the jurisdiction where he or she seeks election. 

Does Victory endorse candidates for statewide offices? 

Yes.  Similar to federal endorsements, in order to be eligible for a Victory Fund endorsement and to demonstrate viability, an openly LGBT candidate for statewide office generally will have held public office previously within the state.  

I’m already an elected official. Can Victory endorse me in my re-election campaign?

We can.  Victory generally endorses for re-election those openly LGBT elected officials who meet the criteria for a Victory endorsement. Even if you have not applied for endorsement in the past, Victory will consider endorsing you in future elections.

Does Victory endorse in races where more than one openly LGBT candidate is running?

Victory recognizes that sometimes more than one openly LGBT person will seek election to the same office at the same time.  In those races, Victory’s political staff will complete a thorough review of the landscape and may endorse a single candidate, make no endorsement or endorse multiple candidates. 

Are some races considered higher priority for Victory?

Yes.  Victory considers the election of candidates in low-equality states a top priority.1  Victory firmly believes every state legislature should have at least one openly LGBT lawmaker, so it also places a priority on those races.

Does Victory require candidates for judicial offices to take issue stances?

Our court system is designed to achieve justice for all through an impartial judiciary.  To achieve this, judges must remain impartial over the cases they preside and ensure that all sides receive a fair hearing.  Given this, Victory does not require candidates for judicial office to take policy positions or demonstrate support for particular constituencies.

*Judicial candidates are not required to meet these endorsement criteria.

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1Based on Movement Advancement Project’s LGBT policy tallies, which rank states from negative to high based on 34 pro-LGBT policies. Each of these pro-LGBT policies counts for one point. States that received negative and low tallies (-5 to 6.99 points) are considered “low-equality states” by Victory. See “Mapping LGBT Equality in America,” by Movement Advancement Project, 2015. Available at www.lgbtmap.org/file/mapping-equality.pdf