Jacob Candelaria is projected to handily win a decisive Democratic primary tonight to represent District 26 in the New Mexico Senate. With no Republican opponent in November, Candelaria will become New Mexico’s only openly LGBT lawmaker, and one of the youngest state lawmakers in the country.
“We’re thrilled for Jacob and for New Mexico,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund, which endorsed Candelaria and supported his campaign. “Jacob ran a terrific campaign and will bring his authentic voice to Santa Fe as a fighter for Albuquerque’s westside community and equality for all.”
Before becoming Executive Director of Equality New Mexico, the state’s flagship LGBT advocacy group, Candelaria served as a program evaluator for the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee and policy analyst on behalf of the Speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives.
Candelaria’s win will bring the number of state legislatures with no openly LGBT lawmakers to 15, following historic victories by Mary Gonzalez in Texas and Brian Sims in Pennsylvania earlier this year.
UPDATE: This post has been updated to correct references to Candelaria as New Mexico’s first LGBT state legislator. He will be the only openly LGBT New Mexico state legislator, but not the first.