2018 Rainbow Wave by the Numbers: LGBTQ Candidates by State

For the first time in U.S. history, openly LGBTQ candidates ran for elected office in all 50 states and the District of Columbia this election cycle, powering a Rainbow Wave of LGBTQ candidates running at every level of government. At least 618 LGBTQ candidates ran for office and at least 399 will appear on ballots in November. In three states, however –Delaware, Mississippi and New Mexico – there were no out LGBTQ candidates that advanced to the general election and none will appear on the November ballot. Findings and a breakdown by state is below. You can also download an excel document with the numbers to the left.

Among the findings:

  • Mississippi and South Dakota had the lowest number of out candidates running in 2018, with just one each. Both currently have zero openly LGBTQ elected officials serving anywhere in the state.
  • California, Texas and Florida had the largest number of LGBTQ candidates run in 2018 – with 81, 61 and 28 respectively. While California and Florida are among the states with the highest number of openly LGBTQ elected officials currently serving, Texas is an outlier. Despite having relatively few openly LGBTQ elected officials serving given the state’s population, it saw a surge in openly LGBTQ candidates running this year.
  • Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Texas, West Virginia and Guam can at least double the number of out LGBTQ elected officials with big wins in November. Alabama, Arkansas, Texas and West Virginia are all low-equality states for LGBTQ people, according to the Movement Advancement Project.