Historic Election Night Victories Make 2017 the Year of the Trans Candidate

Transgender candidates across the nation won historic races Tuesday night – including Danica Roem, who will become the first openly trans person to win and serve in a state legislature. Four trans candidates won their state and local elections, with one more possible as results trickle in, almost doubling the number of trans elected officials in the country and solidifying 2017 as the year of the trans candidate.

“Hostile political forces at every level of government are targeting the trans community with legislation and policies that deny their equality,” said Aisha C. Moodie-Mills, President & CEO of Victory Fund. “Tonight was about fighting back – an unprecedented number of brilliant trans candidates asking for the votes of tens of thousands of Americans, and getting them. They are victorious because they focused on the local issues that matter most to their constituents – better schools, improved transportation and civil rights for all people. But it is also an undeniably historic night for the LGBTQ movement and for trans equality, having moved the needle on what is possible for a trans leader who aspires to run for office and make positive change. Now we have more trans voices in the halls of power, and 2017 will be remembered as the year of the trans candidate.”

Victory Fund invested heavily in its trans endorsed candidates this cycle, bundling hundreds of thousands of dollars in down-ballot races to dramatically increase the number of trans elected officials in the country. It sent staff to get out the vote for Danica Roem, Andrea Jenkins and Phillipe Cunningham, and provided regular campaign strategy sessions to help them target constituents and get out the vote.

Danica Roem, Virginia House of Delegates, District 13: Danica will become the first out trans person to win and serve in a state legislature, and will be the only out trans state legislator in the nation once she takes office. Victory Fund raised more than $200 thousand to help her defeat three primary opponents, and then 25-year incumbent Bob Marshall, who proudly describes himself as “chief homophobe” of the Virginia state legislature. Victory Fund also organized dozens of volunteers to help get out the vote on election day and in the days leading up to it.

Andrea Jenkins, Minneapolis City Council, Ward 8: Andrea is the first openly trans woman ever elected to the city council of a major U.S. city, and will be the only openly trans person of color currently serving in elected office anywhere in the nation. Andrea was featured at Victory Fund’s national event in May and thousands of dollars were bundled on her behalf.

Lisa Middleton, Palm Springs City Council (CA): Lisa is the first openly trans person to win a legislative seat in the state of California, and Victory Fund held a fundraiser on her behalf. Lisa is a former Victory Institute Empowerment Fellow and a graduate of Victory Institute’s Candidate & Campaign Training – a four-day intensive training simulation aimed at building the skills necessary to run for office.

Tyler Titus, Erie School Board (PA): Tyler is the first openly trans person ever elected in Pennsylvania. Victory Fund provided national exposure to Tyler’s race, securing articles in the Daily Beast and other publications.

Additionally, results are still coming in for Phillipe Cunningham, who ran for Minneapolis City Council’s ward 4 seat. If he wins, Phillipe will join Andrea Jenkins as the only out trans people to be elected to the city council of a major U.S. city.

Currently just six openly trans people are elected officials nationwide.