Victory Fund Endorses Mississippi Candidate Carlton Smith; Would Become First LGBTQ State Legislator in the State

Mississippi is one of four states to have never elected an LGBTQ state legislator;

Currently has no out LGBTQ elected officials in the entire state

 Washington, DC – LGBTQ Victory Fund, the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office, has given a Spotlight endorsement to Mississippi state Senate District 10 candidate Carlton Smith – making him a priority candidate for Victory Fund this election cycle. If elected, Smith would become the first openly LGBTQ state legislator in Mississippi history and the only openly LGBTQ elected official in the entire state. Mississippi is one of just five states to have never elected an openly LGBTQ state legislator and one of only four states to have no openly LGBTQ elected officials currently serving.

“LGBTQ candidates are making enormous inroads in most of the country, but that electoral progress is entirely missing in Mississippi,” said Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund. “Carlton Smith represents the best opportunity we’ve had to finally elect an LGBTQ state legislator – and his pastoral work and advocacy for those most marginalized will bring a desperately needed perspective to Jackson. The absence of LGBTQ representation in Mississippi is glaring and foretells the challenges Carlton will face on the campaign trail. But he’s ready to run and win, and when he does, he will have blazed the trail for others to follow in his footsteps.”

Smith is an ordained minister in the Unitarian Universalist Association and is an activist on behalf of communities of color, immigrants, LGBTQ people and those living with HIV/AIDS. He marched alongside Dr. Cornel West at the 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville that ended in violence and the death of a women protesting white nationalism. His father Eddie Lee Smith, Jr. was the first Black mayor of Holly Springs, Mississippi when elected in 1989.

The primary election will be held on August 6 and the general election on November 5. Senate District 10 is in the northwest part of state, covering Marshall and Tate Counties.

Currently, Alaska, Delaware, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee are the only states to have never elected an openly LGBTQ state legislator. Just four states – Hawaii, Mississippi, Louisiana and South Dakota – have no out LGBTQ elected officials currently serving at any level of government. Mississippi is designated a “low-equality” state for LGBTQ people by the Movement Advancement Project.

Victory Fund has endorsed 98 openly LGBTQ candidates across the country and has three active Spotlight candidates, including Smith. More information about the candidates is available 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.