Though we’re still waiting for some results to roll in, it is clear: the 2023 rainbow wave has arrived. You can view the list of wins from election night (so far!) here.
As of 2pm ET Wednesday, 128 LGBTQ+ candidates (including 103 Victory Fund endorsed candidates) won their campaigns last night, shattering win records from previous odd-year election cycles. Four LGBTQ+ candidates are headed to runoffs, including Spotlight candidates Nick Hellyar and Mario Castillo, who are running for the Houston City Council.
In Virginia – where Governor Glenn Youngkin and his chosen candidates heavily invested in anti-trans ads in the lead up to the election – all nine of our endorsed state legislative candidates WON their races, ensuring pro-equality majorities in both the Assembly and state senate. Danica Roem beat ANOTHER anti-trans bigot and shattered another rainbow ceiling as the first out trans state senator in the South. Joshua Cole prevailed in one of the closest races of the night. Adam Ebbin won his race for the state senate, while Laura Jane Cohen, Kelly Convirs-Fowler, Rozia Henson, Adele McClure, Marcia Price and Mark Sickles all won their races for the House of Delegates!
Fabian Nelson defeated a write-in candidate to officially become Mississippi’s first out LGBTQ+ state legislator. Louisiana is now the final state that has never shattered this particular rainbow ceiling – for now. In New Jersey, Luanne Peterpaul won, becoming the first out LGBTQ+ woman elected to the state assembly.
But we didn’t just claim historic firsts in the state houses. LGBTQ+ candidates won seats in city councils, mayoral offices and school boards. These down-ballot races are the lynchpins of the fight for equality. Not only do these elected officials manage school budgets or garbage pickups – the necessities of everyday life – but stand as a key firewall against anti-LGBTQ extremism and hate.
65 Victory Fund endorsed candidates won seats on city councils across the country, including Rue Landau, who became the first out LGBTQ+ person elected to the Philadelphia City Council (hard to believe, but true!). With their election to the Erie City Council, Tyler Titus is now the first out trans person elected to a city council in Pennsylvania. Our LGBTQ+ incumbents held steady on the New York city council, ensuring LGBTQ+ New Yorkers will continue to enjoy powerful representation.
And in the school boards – which are now a battlefront in the war to protect trans rights – LGBTQ+ candidates have claimed key seats. In Fairfax county – which gained national headlines for their pro-equality policies – Robyn Lady and Kyle McDaniel will bring new representation, while incumbent Karl Frisch claimed a win. Amelia McMillan became one of just 15 out gender non-conforming people serving in any position in the entire U.S. when she won her race for the York School Board.
After a year of brutal anti-LGBTQ legislation and seeing trans kids used as political footballs, these results are a clear sign of hope. Despite the shocking levels of bigotry, LGBTQ+ people ran in historic numbers – and won big on Election Night. Their bravery was rewarded on election day.
As we head into the 2024 election cycle, one thing is clear: our rights are decided at the ballot box. And this community has made it clear we will not be sitting at home. We are running, we are voting, and we are winning.