Tuesday’s primaries marked significant wins for LGBTQ candidates
Tuesday’s primary elections represented significant milestones for LGBTQ candidates in California, Iowa, and Montana. In total, six candidates endorsed by the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which tracks out LGBTQ elected officials nationally, advanced their campaigns to the November elections.
California saw four Victory Fund “Game Changer” candidates advance their campaigns in national and statewide races. In the state’s 41st Congressional District, out Democrat Will Rollins, a former federal prosecutor, won his primary and will now face off against incumbent Ken Calvert. The Victory Fund calls Calvert “one of the most anti-LGBTQ members of Congress.”
“Will’s victory sets the stage for a battle between an LGBTQ candidate and an incumbent member who opposes that candidate’s most basic rights,” the organization’s President and CEO Mayor Annise Parker said in a statement Tuesday morning. “As anti-LGBTQ bills flood legislatures across the country, voters will have the opportunity to elect someone who has made it his life’s work to increase equity in his community and fight for justice and accountability.”
In California’s newly formed 42nd Congressional District, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia (D) will face off against Republican John Briscoe in November. Garcia lead with 44.7-percent of the vote according to the New York Times, indicating he could become the first LGBTQ immigrant ever elected to Congress. And Rep. Mark Takano, the Democrat incumbent representing the state’s 39th Congressional District, will advance to November’s general election.
Elsewhere in California, out incumbent state Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, a Democrat, won his race against Republican Robert Howell, while Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin appears to have lost his bid for State Controller.
In Montana, Zooey Zephyr made history, winning the Democratic primary in the state’s 100th state district. Competing in the heavily Democratic district in November, the progressive candidate could become the first out trans woman ever elected to the Montana state legislature. If elected, Zephyr will become one of only eight out trans state legislators in the country, according to the Victory Fund.
Meanwhile, Iowa state Rep. Liz Bennett (D) advanced her candidacy in the state’s 39th senate district. Bennett remains Iowa’s only LGBTQ-identified state legislator, and if elected she will become the first LGBTQ woman ever to serve in the state’s senate.
Both Zephyr and Bennett were named “Spotlight” candidates by the Victory Fund, which provided additional support and services to their history-making campaigns.