The Agenda

Rainbow Wave Appears Over Kansas: First Openly LGBTQ People Elected to State Legislature, Congress

Kansas was one of seven states to have never elected an openly LGBTQ state legislator

Washington, DC – Tonight Kansas voters made history in electing openly LGBTQ candidates to their state legislature and to the U.S. Congress for the first time, with Susan Ruiz and Brandon Woodard winning seats in the Kansas House of Representatives and Sharice Davids a seat in the U.S. Congress. The groundbreaking victories are welcome in a state where LGBTQ people are severely underrepresented in government, with just six openly LGBTQ elected officials currently serving anywhere in the state. Before tonight, Kansas was one of just seven states that had never elected an openly LGBTQ state legislator.

Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, has been on-the-ground in Kansas with the three campaigns since Monday. Victory Fund made both Ruiz and Woodard “Spotlight” candidates, launched a $33,400 independent expenditure to elect Woodard and a $28,200 independent expenditure to elect Ruiz, and raised approximately $2000 for each of their campaigns. It made Davids a “Game Changer” candidate, directly contributed $6500 and raised more than $24,000 for her campaign. A statement on Davids’ historic win is available here.

“A rainbow wave is lighting the skies over Kansas tonight, with openly LGBTQ candidates shattering long-standing political barriers to the state legislature and the U.S. Congress,” said Mayor Parker from Kansas City. “Kansas was one of the few states in the nation where LGBTQ people have never had a voice in their state government, depriving legislative debates of an LGBTQ perspective. Kansans had never elected an LGBTQ leader to the U.S. Congress – now it is sending a millennial lesbian of color. This is a milestone moment for LGBTQ Kansans, but it was the candidates’ constituent-focused agendas, not their sexual orientations, that won over voters on Election Day. Yet the openness about their lives lent them an authenticity rarely found in politicians, and it clearly resonated with voters.”

Before tonight, only seven states had never elected an openly LGBTQ person to their state legislature: Alaska, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska and Tennessee. Tonight so far, LGBTQ state legislative candidates won historic victories in Kansas and Nebraska, leaving just five states to have never elected an openly LGBTQ state legislator.

Live Election Night Results: Victory Fund is live-tracking the election results for 225 of its openly LGBTQ endorsed candidates. The latest updates can be found at victoryfund.org/results2018.

Rainbow Wave by the Numbers: LGBTQ Victory Fund released several reports on the unprecedented Rainbow Wave of openly LGBTQ candidates who ran for office during the 2018 election cycle, including one reporting on the total number of candidates who ran, another looking at the total number of candidates by state, and one analyzing Congressional and gubernatorial nominees.

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