2018 Rainbow Wave by the Numbers: Historic Number of Gubernatorial, Congressional Nominees

An unprecedented number of LGBTQ people have run for office throughout the 2018 election cycle – unleashing the potential for a Rainbow Wave of new openly LGBTQ elected officials at every level of government come November.

The increase in candidates running is particularly noticeable for Congressional and gubernatorial positions, when analyzing candidates over the last five election cycles. The number of LGBTQ women-identified nominees for Congress also rose dramatically.

These high-level candidates are among the more than 430 openly LGBTQ people who ran for office at every level of government this cycle.

At least 244 openly LGBTQ candidates are still in the race and will appear on general election ballots in November.

Of the 25 openly LGBTQ major party nominees for U.S. Congress and governor, all are Democrats.

LGBTQ Major Party Nominees for US Congress

Twenty-one openly LGBTQ candidates won Democratic primaries for U.S. Senate or U.S. House this year – more than at any other time in U.S. history.

The number of LGBTQ women-identified nominees skyrocketed 160 percent since 2016, the year which held the previous record.

There are 13 LGBTQ women-identified Congressional nominees this year – outnumbering the number of men-identified nominees – including both U.S. Senate nominees who are women.

LGBTQ Gubernatorial Candidates

A record seven known LGBTQ candidates ran for governor during the 2018 election cycle and four received a major party nomination – a historic high. Incredibly, the four nominees represent the full LGBT acronym, with one lesbian (Lupe Valdez of Texas), one gay man (Jared Polis of Colorado), one bisexual woman (Kate Brown of Oregon) and one transgender woman (Christine Hallquist of Vermont) to appear on the ballot in November.

Before this election cycle, no more than three openly LGBTQ people had ever run for governor in one election cycle and never had more than one openly LGBTQ person been nominated for the governor’s office by a major party. All gubernatorial nominees have been Democrats.

Currently Serving

Currently 576 known LGBTQ elected officials are serving nationwide – just 0.1 percent of all elected official positions.

Americans must elect 22,810 more LGBTQ elected officials to achieve equitable representation in government.

You can view all openly LGBTQ elected officials on LGBTQ Victory Institute’s Out for America interactive map, or read its Out for America report from June 2018.

Victory Fund

LGBTQ Victory Fund works to change the face and voice of America’s politics and achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government. Visit victoryfund.org to learn more.

**DISCLAIMER: The information and data provided above is accurate to the best of Victory Fund’s knowledge. It is possible other candidates or nominees are not accounted for because of a lack of media reports or other visibility.**

Queer Forty Staff

Queer Forty Staff

Queer Forty writing staff work hard to bring you all the latest articles to help inspire and inform.

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