The Agenda

May 22 Primaries: 9 LGBTQ Candidates to Watch

It’s primary day in Georgia, Kentucky, and Arkansas and we have a few primary run-offs in Texas. There are several big races today including 3 Spotlight candidates and 3 Game Changer candidates.* Tonight’s races represent key opportunities for LGBTQ people in the South. Kentucky and Arkansas have the opportunity to gain their only LGBTQ state legislators. Be sure to keep a close watch on these historic races.

Park Cannon
Georgia House of Representatives, District 58

Park Cannon is the youngest member of the Georgia House of Representatives. She is excited to represent Midtown, Downtown, and Southwest Atlanta. At the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Park said “We need to trust black women!” and will continue to stand up for LGBTQ and minority visibility in the South. Park serves on the Executive Committee of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, the nation’s largest state black caucus as the the Chair of the Civil and Human Rights Committee as well as the Co-Chair of Communications. She serves on Insurance and Small Business Development House Committees, City of Atlanta Delegation, Fulton County Delegation, Bi-partisan Future Caucus and is the secretary for the Women’s Caucus

Election Summary
Park faces Bonnie Clark in the decisive Democratic primary, her fifth election in two years for this seat. Bonnie is the assistant to the executive director at the Center for Trade and Technology Transfer at Georgia State University. Bonnie has not filed campaign finance disclosure reports during this primary as required. No Republicans have filed to run for this district this year.


Poll Times
Polls are open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM ET on Election Day.

Election News/Reporting Sites
https://www.11alive.com/elections 

Tippi McCullough
Arkansas House of Representatives, District 3

Tippi McCullough is an Arkansas teacher. When fired in 2013 after marrying her partner, she spurred into action. She was quickly hired to teach at Little Rock Central High School. Tippi became President of the Stonewall Democrats and active on many Democratic committees. She was elected delegate to the Philadelphia DNC in 2016, and then elected Chair of Pulaski County Democrats in 2017.

The Arkansas ACLU awarded Tippi and her spouse Barbara the 2014 Champions of Liberty Award, and she was awarded the 2017 Honorary Young Democrats of Arkansas Lifetime Member Award. Tippi wrote for Equality Magazine and performed on NPR’s Tales From the South LGBT Edition. She was an AR Times person of the year in 2013 and was the LGBT speaker at the Little Rock Women’s March in 2017. She and her wife, prosecutor Barbara Mariani, have lived in District 33 for 18 years. She seeks to add a progressive, LGBT, and woman’s voice to the Arkansas State Legislature

Election Summary

Tippi faces Ross Noland in this decisive Democratic primary. Ross is an environmental attorney who is local to Little Rock but has not been particularly active in the district prior to this campaign.  No Republicans have filed to run for this district this year.

Poll Times
Polls are open from 7:30 AM to 7:30 PM ET on Election Day.

Election News/Reporting Sites
http://results.enr.clarityelections.com/AR/74831/Web02-state.198804/#/cid/250

Josh Mers
Kentucky House of Representatives, District 88

Josh Mers has spent the last decade working on behalf of advancing fairness and equality in Central Kentucky and across the state. Josh currently serves as a Commissioner of Human Rights for the City of Lexington, has been the Chair of Lexington Fairness for the last three years, and a member of Kentucky’s statewide Fairness Coalition steering committee.

He has also spent countless hours volunteering with the Lexington Humane Society, the Democratic Party of Fayette County and Kentucky, Aids Volunteers of Lexington, Community Action Council, Compassionate Lexington, and Catholic Action Center.

Josh resides in Lexington with his husband, where they are actively involved in Kentucky’s foster care system opening their home to at-risk youth.

Election Summary
Josh Mers faces event planner Cherlynn Stevenson and local Democratic committee member Gail Swanson in the Democratic primary to succeed retiring Rep. Robert J. Benvenuti III. The winner will face Republican nominee Ashley Boggs Bruggeman, William Farmer Jr., or Jennifer McVay Martin.

Poll Times
Polls are open from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM ET on Election Day.

Election News/Reporting Sites
http://results.enr.clarityelections.com/KY/75480/200848/Web01/en/summary.html

Jim Gray
U.S. House of Representatives, KY-06

Jim Gray’s life has been about creating opportunities for people. Through his family business, Gray Construction, he worked across Kentucky and the US helping companies realize their own dreams to create tens of thousands of good jobs. In 2010, Jim was elected as the first openly gay Mayor of Lexington where he has put his business experience to work in City Hall. Under Jim’s leadership, Lexington is on the right track. He has helped create thousands of jobs and bring unemployment to a historic low. Lexington is an economic engine for the state, but more importantly, Lexington workers are earning 13.5% more on average.

Jim used his decades of business experience to get Lexington’s finances in order – balancing budgets after inheriting a deficit and creating surpluses year after year. He implemented reforms to save taxpayers millions of dollars annually. He led initiatives that will attract and keep businesses and employees who expect high-quality of life. Lexington is poised to become the largest city in America with Gigabit Internet across the entire city. Jim is ready to take this experience to deliver results for Kentuckians in Congress. We need more leaders in Congress who are willing to bring people together to solve problems and protect the American Dream for all hardworking Kentuckians. That’s what Jim Gray has done as Mayor, and that’s what he’ll do in Congress.

Election Summary
Jim faces former U.S. Marine Corps pilot Amy McGrath in the Democratic primary, which has received significant national attention. Amy entered the race in August with a viral announcement ad that garnered over one million views and raised an estimated $800,000 for her campaign.

Poll Times
Polls are open from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM ET on Election Day.

Election News/Reporting Sites
http://results.enr.clarityelections.com/KY/75480/200848/Web01/en/summary.html 

Lupe Valdez
Governor of Texas

Lupe Valdez was the highest-ranking law enforcement officer in Dallas County from 2005 until she resigned to run for Governor of Texas in December 2017. Prior to becoming sheriff, Lupe served to protect American citizens at home and abroad as a U.S. Army captain, a U.S. Customs senior agent, and as a senior agent in the Department of Homeland Security. She is one of eight children born to migrant farm workers. At Southern Nazarene University, she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and later achieved a Master of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Texas at Arlington. As Sheriff of Texas’ second most populous county, Lupe has worked diligently to address the long-standing structural issues within the department she leads.

Election Summary
Lupe finished first in the primary with 43% of the vote. She faces Andrew White in this primary election run-off. Andrew received 27% of the vote in the primary. Lupe will face incumbent Republican Governor Greg Abbott in the General Election in November.

Poll Times
Polls are open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM on Election Day.

Election News/Reporting Sites
https://enrpages.sos.state.tx.us/public/may22_327_state.htm

Gina Ortiz Jones
U.S. House of Representatives, TX-23

After a 14-year career in national security, Gina is looking to serve her country and community again – this time as a member of Congress. The daughter of an educator who came to the U.S. as a domestic helper, Gina understands first-hand the importance of hard work, humility, and the need to serve one’s community. As a first-generation American with experience advising military operations all over the world, Gina knows that this country is special due to the opportunities it affords for our most vulnerable to become our most promising. It was these opportunities that enabled Gina to attend Boston University on a four-year Air Force ROTC Scholarship and begin to give back to a country that gave her and her family so much.

An Iraq War Veteran, Gina served under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Her own story and her professional experiences have shown Gina that national security starts with domestic opportunities like affordable health care, quality education, and basic environmental protections. Communities are also strongest when they are vested in each other’s success which is why in 2013 Gina initiated the John Jay “Service through Leadership” Scholarship to recognize students excelling in the classroom and honing their leadership skills through community service. Seeing a threat to the opportunities that enabled her story and service to be possible, Gina is running to ensure that our most vulnerable still have the opportunity to become our most promising.

Election Summary
Gina faces local activist Rick Treviño in the Democratic runoff, following a primary in which she secured 41% of the vote over Rick and three other candidates (including establishment-backed federal prosecutor Jay Hulings). The winner of this runoff will go on to face Republican incumbent and former undercover CIA operative Will Hurd in November.

Poll Times
Polls are open from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM ET on Election Day.

Election News/Reporting Sites
https://enrpages.sos.state.tx.us/public/may22_327_state.htm

David Ermold
Rowan County (KY) Clerk

David Ermold is a 14-year resident of Morehead in Rowan County, Kentucky. He is a two-time graduate of Morehead State University, and he has dedicated his career to working with the public in Eastern Kentucky and in West Virginia. Since graduating Morehead State University, David has been teaching young people as an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Pikeville. He serves on multiple committees at the university, but he is also a founding member and the Director of Administration for Morehead Pride, Inc. As a member of the Board of Directors, he is responsible for helping organize multiple charity-driven events within Rowan County, and he is responsible for reaching out to leaders in surrounding areas to bring in opportunities for the citizens of his county to grow and share in the diversity of Kentucky.

Previous to his work at Pikeville, David served as the Faculty Senate Chair at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College where he was awarded the Faculty of the Year – Savas-Kostas Award for Excellence. During this time, David also taught for Maysville Community and Technical College where he worked with inmates at the Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex to teach them the life skills necessary to successfully re-enter society. Working with such a diverse population has helped David understand the needs of all those in the community, and it has helped him to understand that working together is the only way to move society forward.

Election Summary
David faces three candidates in this Primary Election. The winner will face Incumbent GOP Clerk Kim Davis in the General Election.

Poll Times
Polls are open from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM ET on Election Day.

Election News/Reporting Sites
http://results.enr.clarityelections.com/KY/Rowan/64284/180961/Web01/en/summary.html

Mark Kinion
Arkansas House of Representatives, District 86

As a native and lifelong resident of Northwest Arkansas, Mark is familiar with the struggles and triumphs that are unique to the communities of this area. As an Alderman and Vice Mayor, Mark has a record that demonstrates that interests have always been in serving the people of this area. Mark has reached out to friends, neighbors, and business owners to learn and determine what general ideas should affect his approach to policy. Mark is thrilled to announce his campaign for State Representative in District 86, and is grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of his district in a higher capacity.

Election Summary
Mark Kinion faces local activist Nicole Clowney in the decisive Democratic primary for this solid blue seat. No Republicans have filed to run for this district this year.

Poll Times
Polls are open from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM ET on Election Day.

Election News/Reporting Sites
http://results.enr.clarityelections.com/AR/74831/Web02-state.198804/#/cid/380

Fran Watson
Texas State Senate, District 17

A native of Houston, Texas, Fran has a passion for equality and believes everyone deserves a life of dignity, equal access, and fair treatment. Fran is one of the founding partners of Simoneaux & Watson, P.C., a Houston based law firm that focuses on protecting the legacy of families. Fran is an active member of the LGBTQ and progressive communities and causes, with a strong focus on the intersection of race and gender. She has served in leadership in various organizations and committees at the local, state, and national level whose missions align with her values and beliefs. She has been recognized for her work and has earned awards and honors from several organizations including being named a 40 under 40 honoree by the Houston Business Journal, Public Citizen of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers- Houston Chapter, a Rising Star Award by the League of Women Voters-Houston, Champion Ally Award by the Houston Transgender Unity Committee, the 2016 Pride Houston Female Grand Marshal, and many more.

Election Summary
Fran took second place in the Primary Election receiving 35% of the vote. She will face Rita Lucido in this Primary Election Runoff for the Democratic nomination. The winner will face incumbent State Senator Joan Huffman.

Poll Times
Polls are open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM ET on Election Day.

Election News/Reporting Sites
https://enrpages.sos.state.tx.us/public/may22_327_state.htm

Uncontested Primaries

Sam Park, Georgia House of Representatives, District 101
Renitta Shannon, Georgia House of Representatives, District 84
Matthew Wilson, Georgia House of Representatives, District 80

Game Changer status is awared to candidates with potential to have an outsized impact on equality at the federal level. Spotlight status is a designation given to state or local candidates in history-making races and comes with additional support and services from Victory Fund to ensure they win on Election Day.

2018, Uncategorized