Victory Fund Endorses 24 More LGBTQ Candidates for 2018, Spotlights Five New Historic Races

Trans gubernatorial candidate Christine Hallquist awarded “Game Changer” status

Washington, DC –  Today LGBTQ Victory Fund, the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office, endorsed 24 more LGBTQ candidates, raising to 133 the total number of candidates endorsed this cycle. Two newly endorsed candidates and three previously endorsed candidates were awarded Spotlight status, a designation given to state or local candidates in history-making races. Additionally, trans candidate Christine Hallquist was awarded Game Changer status in her groundbreaking race for Vermont governor. Spotlight and Game Changer candidates receive additional support and services from Victory Fund to ensure they win on Election Day.*

Among the storylines emerging from the most recent endorsements:

Trans Gubernatorial Candidate Breaking New Barriers

Vermont gubernatorial candidate Christine Hallquist will become the first transgender gubernatorial nominee of a major American political party if she defeats her three primary opponents in August. With a November election win, she would become the first out trans person to serve as governor, and just the second openly LGBTQ governor ever elected.

LGBTQ Candidate Takes the Fight to Bigoted Incumbent

Spotlight candidate Dan Smith, running for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, will take on the most anti-LGBTQ member of the state legislature, Daryl Metcalfe. Beyond voting against all pro-equality legislation, Metcalfe has garnered national attention for multiple homophobic outbursts – most recently calling the only LGBTQ state legislator a “lying homosexual.” The race is reminiscent of Virginia Delegate Danica Roem’s successful effort to defeat anti-LGBTQ incumbent Bob Marshall last November.

Unprecedented Number of LGBTQ Statewide Candidates

Dana Nessel, candidate for Michigan Attorney General who today was upgraded to Game Changer status, is one of 17 openly LGBTQ endorsed candidates running for statewide office this cycle – including five gubernatorial candidates. Currently just seven LGBTQ people serve in statewide positions, include only one out governor. More LGBTQ people are running for statewide office this cycle than at any other time in U.S. history.

The complete list of today’s endorsements is below.

Spotlight Candidates

Derek Kitchen, Utah State Senate, District 2
Dan Smith, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 12

Game Changer Candidate

Christine Hallquist, Governor of Vermont

Candidates Upgraded to Spotlight

JD Ford, Indiana State Senate, District 29
Cedric McMinn, Florida House of Representatives, District 109
Kristin Seale, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 168

Candidates Upgraded to Game Changer

Dana Nessel, Michigan Attorney General 

Endorsed Candidates

Gabriel Acevero, Maryland House of Delegates, District 39
Kent Boese, District of Columbia City Council, Ward 1
Joe Daigle, Delaware House of Representatives, District 7
Linda Deos, Davis (CA) City Council
Jimmy Dutra, Santa Cruz County (CA) Supervisor, District 4
Eric Gudz, Davis (CA) City Council
Torrey Harris, Tennessee House of Representatives, District 90
Mila Johns, Maryland House of Delegates, District 18
Kevin Mack, Maryland House of Delegates, District 15
John McManus, Ohio House of Representatives, District 41
Kevin Morrison, Cook County (IL) Board Commissioner, District 15
Neil Rafferty, Alabama House of Representatives, District 54
Emily Randall, Washington State Senate, District 26
Jake Schafer, Hawaii House of Representatives, District 42
Jon Tollefson, Minnesota State Auditor
Claire Wilson, Washington State Senate, District 30

Endorsed Incumbent Candidates

Liz Bennett, Iowa House of Representatives, District 65
Kevin Lembo, Connecticut State Comptroller
Carlos Guillermo Smith, Florida House of Representatives, District 49
Tim Sneller, Michigan House of Representatives, District 50
Lidia Stiglich, Nevada Supreme Court Justice

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

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

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.

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.