For the First Time in U.S. History, LGBTQ Candidates Ran for Office in Every State This Cycle

Mississippi and South Dakota had fewest LGBTQ candidates run in 2018

Washington, DC – For the first time in U.S. history, openly LGBTQ candidates ran for elected office in all 50 states and the District of Columbia this election cycle, powering a Rainbow Wave of LGBTQ candidates running at every level of government. At least 618 LGBTQ candidates ran for office and at least 399 will appear on ballots in November. In three states, however –Delaware, Mississippi and New Mexico – there were no out LGBTQ candidates that advanced to the general election and none will appear on the November ballot. Findings and a breakdown by state is below.

Among the findings:

  • Mississippi and South Dakota had the lowest number of out candidates running in 2018, with just one each. Both currently have zero openly LGBTQ elected officials serving anywhere in the state.
  • California, Texas and Florida had the largest number of LGBTQ candidates run in 2018 – with 81, 61 and 28 respectively. While California and Florida are among the states with the highest number of openly LGBTQ elected officials currently serving, Texas is an outlier. Despite having relatively few openly LGBTQ elected officials serving given the state’s population, it saw a surge in openly LGBTQ candidates running this year.
  • Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Texas, West Virginia and Guam can at least double the number of out LGBTQ elected officials with big wins in November. Alabama, Arkansas, Texas and West Virginia are all low-equality states for LGBTQ people, according to the Movement Advancement Project.

“LGBTQ candidates are running for office in unprecedented numbers and in every state in the nation – and it is already inspiring more LGBTQ people to run in the near future,” said Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund. “This rainbow wave of candidates is certainly concentrated in blue states and districts, but LGBTQ leaders in conservative parts of the nation are standing up and determined to become public servants while remaining true to who they are. The struggles and experiences of LGBTQ candidates provide a unique perspective that makes them authentic, values-driven leaders, and it is increasingly resonating with voters.”

The complete list of openly LGBTQ candidate numbers by state, in addition to the current number of serving LGBTQ elected officials in each state, is below. It is also available in an Excel document on the Victory Fund website at victoryfund.org/rainbowwavestates.

Also available are previous reports on the number of openly LGBTQ candidates running for Congress and governor, and the number of openly LGBTQ candidates who ran by position level.

StateNumber of LGBTQ Candidates Who Ran in 2018Number of LGBTQ Candidates on Nov 2018 BallotNumber of Current LGBTQ Elected Officials
Alabama421
Alaska514
Arizona181210
Arkansas642
California8157105
Colorado151213
Connecticut13115
Delaware303
District of Columbia756
Florida281728
Georgia13912
Guam331
Hawaii510
Idaho212
Illinois221426
Indiana414
Iowa737
Kansas536
Kentucky747
Louisiana330
Maine6411
Maryland251016
Massachusetts20817
Michigan191117
Minnesota8611
Mississippi100
Missouri975
Montana766
Nebraska444
Nevada834
New Hampshire1098
New Jersey201616
New Mexico208
New York261427
North Carolina211713
North Dakota333
Ohio161019
Oklahoma622
Oregon131212
Pennsylvania151030
Puerto Rico001
Rhode Island1075
South Carolina311
South Dakota110
Tennessee525
Texas613716
Utah328
Vermont764
Virgin Islands001
Virginia5211
Washington131333
West Virginia321
Wisconsin15918
Wyoming222
Total618399577

A note on the candidate numbers above: Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia do not hold state legislative elections this year, affecting the number of candidates running in their states this cycle.

Victory Fund endorsed 272 openly LGBTQ candidates in 2018 – the most in its 27-year history – and 226 of those endorsees will be on the ballot in November. Seventeen openly LGBTQ candidates have already been elected this year. View all Victory Fund endorsed candidates at victoryfund.org/ourcandidates.

 

**DISCLAIMER: The information and data provided above is accurate to the best of Victory Fund’s knowledge. It is possible other candidates or elected officials are not accounted for because of a lack of media reports or other visibility.**

 

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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