California has the largest slate of elected LGBTQ officials in the nation, but it was not until Friday that the state officially elected its first statewide LGBTQ official.
Democrat Ricardo Lara made history by beating out independent Steve Poizner in his race to become the state’s next insurance commissioner.
The Associated Press finally called the race Friday. Lara won with 51.6 percent of the vote.
Lara is currently a state Senator representing the 33rd District and was the first openly gay person of color elected to the state’s Senate.
Equality California Political Action Committee, which funneled $14,600 into his campaign and raised an additional $15,000 for him, celebrated the win in a news statement.
“Ricardo has been a champion for California’s LGBTQ and immigrant communities throughout his career, working to tear down barriers, ensure equality for all and now break through California’s rainbow glass ceiling,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “In an already historic year for LGBTQ candidates across California and the nation, Ricardo has proven that an openly gay son of a factory worker and seamstress who immigrated from Mexico can grow up to represent 40 million people in the world’s fifth largest economy.”
Lara, whose father was smuggled across the border from Mexico more than 50 years ago, has been an ardent supporter of immigrant rights. He is a vociferous opponent of President Trump, and has vowed to “fight him tooth and nail at every pass” in the battle over health insurance.
California has more than 100 out LGBTQ elected officials, the highest number of any state in the nation.
The state made history earlier this month by electing Democrat Katie Hill, who will be the state’s first openly bisexual member of Congress. Openly gay Democrat Mark Takano also won his re-election bid.
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