2018 Rainbow Wave by the Numbers: Historic Number of Gubernatorial, Congressional Nominees

UPDATED: This report was updated on October 18, 2018 to reflect newly found LGBTQ candidates.

An unprecedented number of LGBTQ people have run for office throughout the 2018 election cycle – unleashing the potential for a Rainbow Wave of new openly LGBTQ elected officials at every level of government come November. The increase in candidates running is particularly noticeable for Congressional and gubernatorial positions, when analyzing candidates over the last five election cycles.

These high-level candidates are among the more than 610 openly LGBTQ people who ran for office at every level of government this cycle. At least 392 openly LGBTQ candidates are still in the race and will appear on general election ballots in November.

Among the main findings from the September 2018 research brief:

  • Twenty-two openly LGBTQ candidates won Democratic primaries for U.S. Senate or U.S. House in 2018, a 29.4 percent increase compared to 2016.
  • The number of LGBTQ women-identified major party Congressional nominees skyrocketed 160 percent since 2016, the year which held the previous record.
  • A record seven known LGBTQ candidates ran for governor during the 2018 election cycle and four received a major party nomination – a historic high.
  • There is one known LGBTQ Republican party nominee for U.S. Congress this election cycle, however the nominee had no opponent in the primary.