And one group in particular benefited from both of these trends: LGBTQ candidates, many of them Democratic challengers to longtime GOP lawmakers, who won dozens of seats throughout the United States.
There were at least 71 openly LGBTQ candidates running campaigns in 23 different states, The Windy City Times reports. Of those 71 candidates, a stunning 55% of them won their races.
So proud of movement auntie, Andrea Jenkins, who became the first openly trans woman of color elected to the city council of a major U.S. city. She’ll represent Ward 8 of Minneapolis! So much history being made tonight! #AJ4W8 #TransFolksCanWin #ElectionDay pic.twitter.com/AJqvDt9E7q
— Raquel Willis (@RaquelWillis_) November 8, 2017
The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, a political-action committee that backs LGBTQ candidates, endorsed 61 candidates in 2017. Of those 61, 37 won their elections.
Among them were Andrea Jenkins of Minneapolis, the first trans woman elected to a major city’s council; Danica Roem of Virginia, the first state legislator to win as an out trans candidate; and Jenny Durkan of Seattle, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor.
“Last night was wave of victories for Democrats in a lot of places around the country,” says Victory Fund Political Director Sean Meloy. “A lot of these LGBTQ candidates were Democrats, so I definitely think that helped buoy a lot of them to success.”
Still, Meloy says, these candidates didn’t win their seats just because they were Democrats. That ignores the incredibly strong campaigns they ran, not to mention their qualifications and all their hard work leading up to the moment they won.
— Jenny Durkan (@JennyDurkan) November 8, 2017
“When you’re running as an LGBTQ candidate, you have to be very discerning about making sure you’re running a very disciplined race because it is more difficult [for LGBTQ candidates to win],” Meloy tells INTO. “That’s why it is so important to get LGBTQ people elected. Once we’re at the table, people can’t continue to have us on the menu.”
To learn more about the dozens of LGBTQ candidates who won their races, hit up the Victory Fund’s 2017 Elections live blog.
— Will Drabold (@WillDrabold) November 8, 2017