vanzi221New Mexico last night joined just a handful of states to have elected openly gay candidates to statewide office.  Judge Linda Vanzi won her Democratic primary for a seat on the Court of Appeals, and she faces no Republican opponent this fall.

But she wasn’t the only out lesbian to win a judicial race in New Mexico yesterday.  Shannon Bacon, a lawyer and advocate for women and children, won her primary race for the District Court in Bernalillo County, which includes Albuquerque.  She also faces no opposition in November.

Vanzi was selected for a seat on the Court of Appeals in 2008 by Gov. Richardson.  Under New Mexico state law, appointed judges must stand for election in the next general election following their appointment.  In the future, voters will be asked only if they wish to retain Vanzi on the statewide court.

Prior to her appointment, Vanzi served on the Second Judicial District court from 2004-2008. Vanzi’s legal career has spanned a broad range of issues from civil rights to employment law, personal injury, child abuse and neglect, and commercial law. Vanzi has been awarded the Judge of the Year award by the Albuquerque Bar Association and the Trial Judge of Year award by the American Board of Trial Advocates.

Both Vanzi and Bacon were endorsed by the Victory Fund.