Victory Fund Endorses 37 More LGBTQ Candidates for 2018, Spotlights Seven New Transformative Races

Sharice Davids and Rufus Gifford Endorsed for U.S. Congress

Washington, DC –  Today LGBTQ Victory Fund, the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office, endorsed 37 more LGBTQ candidates, raising to 170 the total number of candidates endorsed this cycle. Three newly endorsed candidates and four previously endorsed candidates were awarded Spotlight status, a designation given to state or local candidates in history-making races. Additionally, five candidates were awarded Game Changer status in their statewide races or campaigns for U.S. Congress. Spotlight and Game Changer candidates receive additional support and services from Victory Fund to ensure they win on Election Day.

Among the storylines from the most recent endorsements:

Deep Red States See Groundbreaking, Viable LGBTQ State Legislative Candidates

An unprecedented number of viable LGBTQ candidates are running for state legislatures in deep red states with little LGBTQ representation, including Alaska, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

Newly endorsed Spotlight candidate Elias Rojas would become the first openly LGBTQ state legislator in Alaska if elected. Neil Rafferty and Felicia Stewart, both running for the Alabama House of Representatives and just upgraded to Spotlight endorsement status, would be the only two openly LGBTQ elected officials in the entire state if elected. Spotlight candidate Amelia Marquez, running for the Montana House of Representatives, would be just the second openly trans person to be elected to and serve in any state legislature. And spotlight candidate Cody Thompson would bring LGBTQ representation back to the West Virginia state legislature and would be one of just two openly LGBTQ elected officials in the state.

Previously endorsed candidates in Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Tennessee, Texas and Utah could also make history with victories in deep red states.

Statewide LGBTQ Officeholders Could Double in November

Three statewide LGBTQ candidates received Game Changer endorsements, bringing to 18 the total number currently endorsed. Kim Coco Iwamoto would become the first openly trans person elected to a statewide executive office if she wins her bid for Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii. Kim is the only trans person ever elected statewide in the U.S., having previously served two terms on the Hawaii Board of Education.

Matt Pelikan, running for Minnesota Attorney General, and Josh Tenorio, running for Lieutenant Governor of Guam, received Game Changer endorsements and would each be the first openly LGBTQ statewide officials in their respective state and territory. Currently just seven LGBTQ people serve in statewide positions, including only one out governor.

LGBTQ Congressional Candidates Could Increase Representation in U.S. House

Sharice Davids and Rufus Gifford received Game Changer endorsements in their races for U.S. Congress – bringing to fourteen the total number of current U.S. House candidates Victory Fund has endorsed. Davids would be the first openly LGBTQ member of Congress to represent Kansas if elected – and one of just eight LGBTQ elected officials in the entire state. She would also be the first Native American Congresswoman in U.S. history. Gifford would be just the third out member of Congress from Massachusetts.

The complete list of today’s endorsements is below.

Spotlight Candidates

Amelia Marquez, Montana House of Representatives, District 52
Cody Thompson, West Virginia House of Delegates, District 43
Elias Rojas, Alaska House of Representatives, District 20

Game Changer Candidates

Sharice Davids, U.S. House of Representatives, KS-03
Rufus Gifford, U.S. House of Representatives, MA-03
Kim Coco Iwamoto, Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii
Matt Pelikan, Minnesota Attorney General
Josh Tenorio, Lieutenant Governor of Guam

Candidates Upgraded to Spotlight

Neil Rafferty, Alabama House of Representatives, District 54
Felicia Stewart, Alabama House of Representatives, District 46
Jennifer Webb, Florida House of Representatives, District 69
Ricardo White, Michigan House of Representatives, District 6

Endorsed Candidates

Raghib Allie-Brennan, Connecticut House of Representatives, District 2
Bryce Bennett, Montana State Senate, District 50
Hunter Cantrell, Minnesota House of Representatives, District 56A
Caitlin Clarkson-Pereira, Connecticut House of Representatives, District 132
Jason Cox, Harris County (TX) Probate Court, Number 3
Mason Donovan, New Hampshire State Senate, District 7
Raymond Gregory, Cathedral City (CA) Council, District 5
Jessica Gonzalez, Texas House of Representatives, District 104
Dave Hutchinson, Sheriff of Hennepin County (MN)
Sonya Jaquez Lewis, Colorado House of Representatives, District 12
Garrett Muscatel, New Hampshire House of Representatives, Grafton 12
Danielle Skidmore, Austin City Council, District 9


Endorsed Incumbent Candidates

Tim Carpenter, Wisconsin State Senate, District 3
Deborah Glick, New York State Assembly, District 66
Leslie Herod, Colorado House of Representatives, District 8
Dan Innis, New Hampshire State Senate, District 24
Celia Israel, Texas House of Representatives, District 50
Laurie Jinkins, Washington House of Representatives, District 27a
Tina Kotek, Oregon House of Representatives, District 44
Jack Patrick Lewis, Massachusetts House of Representatives, 7th Middlesex District
Marko Liias, Washington State Senate, District 21
Bill Lippert, Vermont House of Representatives, Chittendon-4-2 District
Andrew McLean, Maine House of Representatives, District 27
Matthew Moonen, Maine House of Representatives, District 38
Marcia Morey, North Carolina House of Representatives, District 30
Jason Morgan, Washtenaw County (MI) Commissioner
Andrea Olsen, Montana House of Representatives, District 100
Sarah Peake, Massachusetts House of Representatives, 4th Barnstable District
Mark Spreitzer, Wisconsin State Assembly, District 45

This is the eight round of endorsements by Victory Fund for the 2018 election cycle. All currently running openly LGBTQ endorsed candidates can be seen at victoryfund.org/ourcandidates.

Since 1991, Victory Fund has helped thousands of openly LGBTQ candidates win local, state and federal elections.

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LGBTQ Victory Fund

LGBTQ Victory Fund works to change the face and voice of America’s politics and achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government.
victoryfund.org

Game Changer status is awarded to candidates with the 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.