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‘The Rainbow Wave’ : A Historic Number of LGBTQ Candidates Elected in the 2022 Midterms

The 2022 midterm election made history with the most wins for openly LGBTQ candidates. This year saw 678 out LGBTQ candidates — the most ever — and over 400 of them won their races, beating the prior record of 336 in 2020, according to the political action committee Victory Fund.

Victory Fund began in 1991, and it has supported LGBTQ candidates running for office since. Former mayor of Houston Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, issued the following statement calling these historic wins a “rainbow wave.”

“This Rainbow Wave was fueled by a record number of LGBTQ candidates who defied the odds by running – and winning – in the face of extraordinary anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and attacks. Bigots underestimated our power and determination as they’ve done throughout history. While this election has given us much to be optimistic about, such as a historic number of victorious trans and nonbinary candidates, we still have a long way to go before we achieve equitable representation in government.”

In order to achieve equitable representation,  35,000 more out LGBTQ people have to be elected to office, according to LGBTQ Victory Institute. Here are a few notable firsts in the most recent midterm elections. 

Robert Garcia: The first out LGBTQ immigrant elected to Congress

Democrat Robert Garcia, who is gay, was elected in the race for California’s 42nd congressional district. He is currently the mayor of Long Beach. According to his website, Garcia immigrated from Peru to the United States at age 5 and was raised in Southern California.

Maura Healey: The Nation’s first openly lesbian governor 

Democrat Maura Healey was elected governor of Massachusetts becoming the country’s first openly lesbian governor.

“To every little LGBTQ kid out there, I hope tonight shows that you can be whomever you want to be,” Healey said in her victory speech. She also tweeted, “To every little girl out there, we want you to know – there’s no ceiling you can’t break.”

Erick Russell: The first Black LGBTQ person ever elected to Statewide Office

Erick Russell won the election for Connecticut state Treasurer. With this victory, he is now the first Black out LGBTQ person ever elected to statewide office in U.S. history.

Becca Balint: The first openly gay person elected in Vermont

Democrat Becca Balint was elected in Vermont to the U.S. House of Representatives. She is the first woman and openly gay person to represent the state in Congress.

Patricia Contreras: The first out lesbian Latina elected to state legislature

Democrat Patricia Contreras is one of the first out lesbian Latinas elected to the Arizona House of Representatives.

Liz Benner: The first out LGBTQ woman to serve in the Iowa Senate

Democrat Liz Bennett, who identifies as a queer woman, was elected to the Iowa State Senate, District 39. 

James Roesner: The first trans man in the state legislature

Democrat James Roesener, a bisexual transgender man, was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives, District 22 Ward 8. He is the first openly transgender man to win in any state legislature election.

Leigh Finke: The first transgender person ever elected to the Minnesota state legislature

Leigh Finke won the election for Minnesota’s state House District 66A. With this historic victory, she is now the first out trans person ever elected to the Minnesota state legislature.

To see an interactive map of all of Victory Funds’ winning queer candidates, click here.

Olivia Green

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