Voters are already voting – and chances are good there’s an LGBTQ candidate on their ballots. And it’s shaping up to be a historic night! Here are the races we’ll be watching…
- Will America elect a record number of LGBTQ candidates?
According to LGBTQ Victory Fund’s Out on the Trail report, a groundbreaking 1,065 LGBTQ candidates ran in 2022. Now, 60% of those candidates will appear on the general election ballot – 678 in total – shattering another rainbow ceiling.
But will voters hand these candidates another piece of history on election night? To surpass the previous record set in 2020, when 336 out candidates won their November campaigns, 49.7% must win.
We’ll be tracking victories for all of our endorsed candidates on election night. Follow along with us here!
- Will at-risk LGBTQ Congressional incumbents win their close races?
Our LGBTQ incumbents in the U.S. House faced numerous challenges this year. The redistricting process was not kind to pro-equality candidates, with anti-LGBTQ forces in Kansas even naming incumbent Sharice Davids as one of their top targets. Now, four of our LGBTQ candidates are currently running in close races – and all of them are facing anti-LGBTQ, anti-choice opponents.
U.S. Representatives Angie Craig, Chris Pappas and Sean Patrick Maloney’s races are all considered “toss ups” by Cook Political Report, while U.S. Representative Sharice Davids’ race is considered “lean Democrat.”
- Will the U.S. elect its first out lesbian governors?
While America has elected a bisexual governor (Oregon Governor Kate Brown) and a gay Governor (Jared Polis), it has yet to elect a lesbian governor. This year, it could elect TWO: Maura Healey, running in Massachusetts, and Tina Kotek, running in Oregon.
- Will Vermont send a LGBTQ woman to Congress for the first time in its history?
Two glass ceilings could be shattered in Vermont on election night. It is currently the only state left in the U.S. that has never sent a woman to the U.S. Congress – and it has never sent an out LGBTQ representative to the body. Becca Balint, running for Vermont’s At-Large Congressional seat, stands a good chance of assuming both titles on November 8th.
- Will Connecticut elect the first Black out LGBTQ person to statewide office?
America has yet to elect a Black out LGBTQ person to statewide office. But this election day, Erick Russell, running for Connecticut state Treasurer, could shatter this lavender ceiling, adding much-needed representation and inspiring a new generation of leaders.
- Will America elect a record number of trans and nonbinary people to offices around the country?
Trans, gender nonconforming and non-binary people have born the brunt of anti-LGBTQ bill attacks over the last two years. A record number of anti-LGBTQ bills been introduced in state houses during the last two years, most of them targeting gender-affirming healthcare or trans youth in sports.
But the trans community has stepped up to fight back. In 2022, 72 out trans and nonbinary people ran for office, up from 52 in 2020. 66 trans and nonbinary candidates on the general election ballot, a record number.
In New Hampshire, Spotlight candidate James Roesener would be the first trans man ever elected to a state legislature. In Minnesota, Spotlight candidate Leigh Finke would be the first trans person elected to the state legislature. In Montana, which passed an anti-trans bill in 2021, Spotlight candidate Zooey Zephyr would be the first trans person elected to the Montana state legislature while SJ Howell would be the first nonbinary person elected to the Montana state legislature. Tempe Union School District Governing Board candidate Stephan Kingsley would be the first trans man elected in Arizona history.
- Will there be historic wave of state lawmakers elected across the nation?
During the 2022 campaign cycle, 416 out LGBTQ people ran for state legislatures, the most in U.S. history (357 candidates ran in 2020). 274 of these candidates are on the ballot for the general election. These candidates, if elected, will have an enormous legislative impact on the future of reproductive rights, LGBTQ equality and voting rights in America.
- Number of states to have never had LGBTQ state legislators cut in half.
There are only four states that have yet to elect an out LGBTQ state lawmaker: Alaska, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
Both Alaska and South Dakota are on track to elect out LGBTQ state lawmakers this year, cutting the number from four to two. In South Dakota, Kameron Nelson would be the first out LGBTQ man elected to the South Dakota state legislature and would restore LGBTQ representation. Meanwhile, Andrew Gray and Jennie Armstrong would be the first out LGBTQ people ever elected to the Alaska state legislature.
- Will LGBTQ representation on school boards increases dramatically?
School boards are another frontline in the extremist right’s ongoing war against LGBTQ equality – and groups like Moms for Liberty and the hate-group the Proud Boys have been training members to run. But yet again, LGBTQ people are running to ensure LGBTQ voices are heard and stand against the bigotry.
There are currently just 90 out LGBTQ people serving on school boards in the U.S. In 2022, there are 82 out LGBTQ candidates running for school boards – up from 43 in 2020 – offering a unique chance to increase much-needed representation.