Openly gay and lesbian candidates endorsed by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund won election to municipal, judicial and state legislative offices from coast to coast Tuesday night. At least 53 of the group’s 75 endorsees were victorious, with two races still undecided this morning.
Candidates in Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Charlotte, N.C., made history, becoming the first openly gay or lesbian candidates elected to those city councils. In Virginia, Adam Ebbin became the first openly gay person elected to the State Senate, and in New Jersey, Tim Eustace became the first non-incumbent openly gay candidate to win a seat in the State Assembly.
“The election of gay and lesbian candidates in places where they have never won before is a major step forward, and we could not be happier about these victories,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund. “All of the openly LGBT candidates who stepped up to run for office this year are true leaders who deserve our profound thanks.”
Of the 75 candidates endorsed by the Victory Fund in 2011, 46 were non-incumbents, 22 were women and 15 were people of color.
Key 2011 victories included:
- Zach Adamson, who becomes the first openly LGBT city councilmember in Indianapolis, Indiana;
- Caitlin Copple, an out lesbian who won a seat on the Missoula, Montana City Council;
- Adam Ebbin, a Virginia Delegate who becomes the first openly gay State Senator;
- Daniel Hernandez, Jr., the intern who helped save the life of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was elected to his local school board in Pima County, Ariz.;
- Robin Kniech, an out lesbian who became the first openly LGBT member of the Denver, Colorado City Council;
- Mike Laster, who becomes the first openly gay man elected to the Houston, Texas City Council;
- LaWana Mayfield, who will be the first openly LGBT city councilmember in Charlotte, North Carolina;
- Alex Morse, a 22-year-old gay man who won his race for mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts;
- Annise Parker (pictured), who was reelected as mayor of Houston, Texas;
- Chris Seelbach, who made history as the first openly LGBT candidate to win a seat on the Cincinnati, Ohio City Council