12 to WatchThe Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund today announced its annual “Races to Watch” list featuring openly LGBT candidates, naming 12 candidates involved in groundbreaking runs for political office this year.  Victory has endorsed a total of 180 out candidates for 2012, an all-time high, with a record 8 candidates running for the U.S. House and Senate.

“We’re going to be watching every single race closely, so it’s very hard to choose just a dozen,” said Tiffany Muller, Victory’s vice president for political operations.  ”While each of these races are important for different reasons, they represent what a truly groundbreaking year this has been for LGBT politics. These 12 are expected to be close, and we’ll be fighting all the way up until Election Day,” Muller said.

The following are Victory’s “12 Races to Watch” for 2012.  Find out about all 175 Victory Fund-endorsed candidates at www.victoryfund.org.

  • Tammy Baldwin – U.S. Senate (Wisconsin) – Would be the first openly LGBT American in the U.S. Senate.
  • Josh Boschee – North Dakota House of Representatives – Could become the first out member of the N.D. legislature.
  • Kate Brown – Oregon Secretary of State – Second highest-ranking elected official in the state.
  • David Cicilline – U.S. House (RI1) – Running for his first reelection to Congress in a tight race.
  • Sean Patrick Maloney – U.S. House (NY18) – Would be the first openly LGBT member of Congress from N.Y.
  • Marie Mayor – Delaware House – Could become the first out state legislator in Delaware.
  • Tim Brown – Ohio House of Representatives – Tim would become the only openly LGBT Republican state lawmaker in the U.S.
  • Kyrsten Sinema – U.S. House (AZ9) – Would the first out bisexual elected to Congress.
  • Stephen Skinner – West Virginia House of Representatives  – Could become the first openly LGBT state lawmaker in W.V.
  • Andy Staton – Delaware Senate – Could become the first out state legislator in Delaware.
  • Mark Takano – U.S. House (CA41) – Could become the first openly LGBT person of color in Congress.
  • Richard Tisei – U.S. House (MA6) – Would become the first out Republican elected to Congress as a non-incumbent.