FROM: Equality California & LGBTQ Victory Fund
RE: LGBTQ+ Californians Poised to Make History November 8
With just 7 days left until polls close across the country, LGBTQ+ Californians are poised to make history in the 2022 midterm elections — with a record number of out LGBTQ+ candidates running throughout the state, including in battleground races at the local, state and federal levels. 178 LGBTQ+ people ran for office in California this year, more than any other state.
Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang and LGBTQ Victory Fund President & CEO Mayor Annise Parker are available for interviews regarding these historic achievements. Members of the media should contact Equality California Communications Director Jorge Reyes Salinas (email@example.com) and LGBTQ Victory Fund Press Secretary Albert Fujii (firstname.lastname@example.org) for media availability.
Key races to watch and potential Election Night stories include:
California First in the Nation to Achieve 10% LGBTQ+ Representation in State Legislature:
With the re-election of four openly LGBTQ+ Assemblymembers and the election of at least four new out LGBTQ+ legislators, California is poised to become the first state in the nation to achieve 10% LGBTQ+ representation in its state legislature. (California’s four out LGBTQ+ Senators are serving terms through 2024). Assembly candidates Corey Jackson (AD-60) and Rick Chavez Zbur (AD-51) — former executive director of Equality California — and Senate candidate Steve Padilla (SD-18) are expected to win their races, and both candidates for Senate District 20 — Caroline Menjivar and Daniel Hertzberg — are openly LGBTQ+. The total number of Legislative LGBTQ Caucus members could be as high as 15 if Assembly candidates Christy Holstege (AD-47), Shawn Kumagai (AD-20) and Joseph Rocha (SD-40) win their competitive races. (Background: Equality California and leaders of the state’s Legislative LGBTQ Caucus announced a goal of achieving 10% representation in January 2022).
- Corey Jackson Elected First Black Out LGBTQ+ Legislator in California History
Corey Jackson, an openly gay candidate running for the Assembly District 60 seat in the state’s Inland Empire, is on track to become the first Black openly LGBTQ+ legislator in California history. Jackson faces Republican Hector Diaz-Nava in the overwhelmingly Democratic district encompassing Moreno Valley and Perris and parts of Riverside, Hemet and San Jacinto.
- Christy Holstege Elected First Bisexual Woman to Serve in California Legislature
Palm Springs City Councilmember Christy Holstege could become the first out bisexual woman elected to the California Legislature if she wins her highly competitive race for Assembly District 47. Holstege has spent more than $2.3 million in the battleground district, compared to her Republican opponent Greg Wallis’s $1.6 million. An independent expenditure committee sponsored by the LGBTQ Caucus Leadership Fund and supported by Equality California Political Action Committee has spent nearly $400,000 supporting Holstege. The Palm Springs City Councilmember made history in 2017 as part of the nation’s first all-LGBTQ+ city council in Palm Springs and again in 2021 as the nation’s first openly bi+ mayor.
LGBTQ+ Californians Double or Triple Representation in Congress:
Representative Mark Takano is the only LGBTQ+ Member of Congress from California, but with a record number of LGBTQ+ Congressional candidates on the November ballot in California, that could soon change. With continued momentum behind both Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia (CA-42) and former prosecutor Will Rollins (CA-42), California’s LGBTQ+ Congressional delegation is on track to double or triple this year.
- Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia First Openly Gay Immigrant Elected to Congress
Mayor Garcia won the June primary California’s new overwhelmingly Democratic 42nd Congressional District, advancing to the November election against Republican John Briscoe. Garcia is on track to make history in November as the first openly gay immigrant and just the second openly gay Latino elected to Congress. Equality California and LGBTQ Victory Fund were the first two organizations to endorse Mayor Garcia for the open Congressional seat, and Equality California Votes — an independent super PAC aligned with Equality California — ran an independent expenditure campaign in the primary in support of the Mayor’s campaign. Garcia made history in 2014 when he was elected as Long Beach’s first openly LGBTQ+ mayor, first Latino mayor and youngest mayor in the city’s history.
- Will Rollins defeats anti-LGBTQ+ Rep. Ken Calvert, 28 years after Calvert outed then-opponent Mark Takano
In what has been characterized as one of California’s most competitive races for Congress this year, openly gay former federal prosecutor Will Rollins is running against anti-LGBTQ+ Republican Congressman Ken Calvert in California’s new 41st Congressional District, which now includes Palm Springs. The new district has a near-even split between registered Republicans and Democrats, with no-party preference voters making up roughly 20% of its registered voters. As a freshman Congressman in 1994, Calvert outed his then-opponent — now Congressman Mark Takano — and attacked him for being gay with hot pink and lavender mailers questioning whether Mr. Takano would be “a congressman for Riverside … or San Francisco?” Calvert’s long anti-LGBTQ voting record includes votes to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban marriage equality, against the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, against federal hate crimes protections for LGBTQ+ people and against the Equality Act, which would give basic legal protections to LGBTQ+ people nationwide.
Los Angeles Maintains LGBTQ+ Representation in City Government:
Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell’s reelection is key to maintaining LGBTQ+ representation in city government in Los Angeles, the nation’s second largest city, as both City Controller Ron Galperin and Councilmember Mike Bonin leave their positions this year. Since O’Farrell’s election to represent Council District 13 in 2022, he has passed laws to protect the LGBTQ community from hate crimes and discrimination, helped lead an outreach program to support homeless LGBTQ people and crafted the first gender inclusivity training for city employees. Just two of the nation’s top 10 cities, Philadelphia and San Jose, lack out LGBTQ+ representation on their city councils — and San Jose is well-positioned to gain LGBTQ+ representation in Omar Torres this year.
San Jose Restores LGBTQ+ Representation with First Openly Gay Person of Color Elected to City Council:
In San Jose, openly gay City Council candidate Omar Torres could make history as the first out LGBTQ+ person of color elected to the San Jose City Council, a top 10 major city. Omar has been an active community organizer and advocate since the age of 14. He has also served on two school boards as trustees for the San Jose Evergreen Community College District and the Franklin McKinley School District in San Jose. He is running for office to represent and serve under-resourced neighborhoods in District 3 and make San Jose the best place for all people.
Local Trans Candidates Make History in Alameda, Orange Counties:
In Oakland and Orange County, trans candidates Nick Resnick and Stephanie Wade for Oakland Unified School Board and Seal Beach City Council, respectively, would increase trans elected representation in California. If elected, parent and educator Nick Resnick would be the first trans man ever elected to a school board in California. Wade, a U.S. Marine veteran and aide to Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley, would be the first out trans person elected to any office in Orange County. There are currently just six trans people serving in elected office in California.