Annise Parker chuck wolfeHouston Mayor Annise Parker is up for reelection this year and today the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund announced it’s getting an early start building support for her campaign.  She was elected to a two-year term in 2009, making Houston the largest city in America with an openly LGBT mayor.

Parker is among 8 openly LGBT candidates in the Fund’s latest round of endorsements.  Fourteen candidates have been endorsed so far for 2011 races, with dozens more expected to earn the Victory Fund endorsement seal before November.

“We are proud to support Mayor Parker.  Her success in Houston is proof of the remarkable talent and leadership LGBT Americans have to offer their communities as public servants,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund (pictured with Mayor Parker).

Parker welcomed the Victory Fund’s backing.

“I am grateful for the early and strong support of the Victory Fund. The Victory Fund is more than just a force for LGBT equality – it educates and equips qualified candidates to excel in public service for the benefit of all whom they represent. I will use the Victory Fund’s support to run a campaign that reaches out to every Houstonian and asks each one to join us in protecting and enhancing what is best about the city we share,” said Parker.

In addition to Mayor Parker, the newest endorsees are:

Robin Kniech, a candidate for an at-large seat on the Denver City Council.  She would become the council’s first openly LGBT member.

Chris Hightower, who could become the first openly gay member of the Arlington, Texas City Council.

Ken Schneck, a candidate for the Brattleboro, Vermont Selectboard.

Larry Forester, who seeks reelection to the Signal Hill, Calif. City Council.

Sandra Kurt, who’s running for reelection to the Akron, Ohio City Council.

Bruce Kraus, a member of the Pittsburgh, Penn. City Council who’s running for reelection.

Lance Rhodes, who seeks reelection to the East Point, Georgia City Council.