The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund today reported unprecedented success in electing openly gay candidates this year. Sixty-seven Victory-endorsed candidates were elected to federal, state and local offices, with some winning historic races that make them the first openly gay or lesbian candidates ever elected in their states or legislative bodies.
"This is the tipping point election for openly gay candidates," said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund. "We’re proving that qualified, well-prepared candidates matched with committed donors means gays and lesbians can move from having a stake in policy to actually making policy. There’s no reason to sit on the sidelines with our fingers crossed anymore."
10 Key Victories in 2006:
— Patricia Todd, who will represent District 54 in the Alabama State House. Todd is the first openly gay person ever elected to any office in the state.
— Kathy Webb, who will represent District 37 in the Arkansas State House. Webb is the first openly gay person ever elected to any office in the state.
— Henry Fernandez, who won a seat on the Lawrence Township School Board, making him the first openly gay person ever elected to any office in Indiana.
— Al McAffrey, who will represent District 88 in the Oklahoma State House. McAffrey is the first openly gay person ever elected to the Oklahoma state legislature.
— Jolie Justus, who will represent District 10 in the Missouri State Senate. Justus is the first openly gay state senator in Missouri history.
— Ed Murray, who will represent District 43 in the Washington State Senate. Murray, a former state representative, is the first openly gay state senator in Washington history.
— Matt McCoy, who becomes the first openly gay candidate ever elected to the Iowa legislature. McCoy, a sitting state senator, came out during his last term.
— Ken Keechl, who won a seat on the Broward County Commission in Florida, beating an appointee of Gov. Jeb Bush.
— Jamie Pedersen, who becomes the third consecutive openly gay person to be elected to represent District 43 in the Washington State House.
— Judge Virginia Linder will join Rives Kistler on the Oregon Supreme Court, making it the first state ever to have two openly gay Supreme Court Justices, according to preliminary results.
Key Statistics About Victory-Endorsed Candidates in 2006:
— Total Victory-endorsed candidates: 88 (55 non-incumbents, 33 incumbents)
— Total Victory-endorsed winners: 67
— Total Victory-endorsed winners running as openly LGBT for the first time: 37
— Percent of Victory Fund bundled money spent on non- incumbent candidates: 80 percent
— Percent of Victory Fund PAC money spent on non-incumbent candidates: 91 percent
— States that elected their first-ever openly LGBT officials: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana
— States that elected their first-ever openly LGBT state legislators: Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma
— Seven states that still have no openly LGBT elected officials at any level of government: Alaska, Louisiana, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia
— Thirteen additional states that still have no openly LGBT state legislators: Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wyoming
The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund provides strategic, technical and financial support to openly LGBT candidates and officials. It’s the only national organization solely committed to increasing the number of openly LGBT public officials at federal, state and local levels of government. Victory is the nation’s largest LGBT political action committee and one of the nation’s largest non-connected PACs. In 15 years, Victory has helped the number of openly LGBT officials grow from 49 to more than 350. Roughly 22 percent of all Americans are represented by an openly LGBT elected official. Go to http://www.victoryfund.org for full election results.