The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund has announced its annual “Races to Watch” list featuring openly LGBT candidates, naming 10 candidates involved in groundbreaking runs for political office this year. Victory has endorsed a total of 85 out candidates for 2013, an all-time high for an odd numbered year.
“2013 isn’t an off year. It’s definitely on at the Victory Fund.” said Lucinda Guinn, Victory’s political director. “We’re working hard this year to help build up local heroes in places where equality is late in arriving. Places where these candidates can be the spark to help their own communities move toward equality.” Guinn said.
The following are Victory’s “10 Races to Watch” for 2013. Find out about all Victory Fund-endorsed candidates at www.victoryfund.org.
Annise Parker – Mayor, Houston, Texas
As mayor of the fourth largest U.S. city, Annise Parker is one of the most visible and respected LGBT leaders in the country. Running for her third and final term, she faces a self-funder that has already invested over three million dollars of his own money.
Ed Murray – Mayor, Seattle, Wash.
State Sen. Ed Murray has represented the 43rd Legislative District of Washington’s State legislature since 1995 and currently serves as the Senate Democratic Leader. He finished ahead of all other candidates in the August 6th primary and faces the incumbent mayor in the November election. If elected, Murray would become the city’s first ever openly gay mayor.
Celia Israel – Texas House of Representatives (District 50)
A recognized leader in the LGBT and Latino communities, Israel would join Rep. Mary González in the legislature and become the second openly LGBT member of the Texas House of Representatives.
Robert Lilligren – Minneapolis City Council (District 6), Minnesota
Robert’s background of community activism led him into elected office in January 2006. Now vice president of the Minneapolis City Council, he has been an outspoken advocate for the LGBT community. Robert is running to remain the lone LGBT member of the Council.
Catherine LaFond – Water System Commission, Charleston, Charleston, S.C.
Catherine was inspired to run for office after a screening of Breaking Through, the documentary about openly LGBT elected officials and their journey of running for elected office. If elected she would be the first person in South Carolina to run as an openly LGBT candidate in a contested election and win.
Michael Gongora – Mayor, Miami Beach, Florida
Now in his second term, Gongora was Miami Beach’s first and only openly gay elected commissioner. He faces a self-funded millionaire in his fight to become the city’s next Mayor.
Darden Rice – St. Petersburg City Council (District 2), Florida
Rice has spent the last three years as the President of the St. Petersburg League of Women Voters. Her win would add an authentic voice for the LGBT community to the council.
Tim Eustace – New Jersey State Assembly (District 38)
Nearing completion of his first term, Eustace is one of only two openly gay legislators in the New Jersey State Assembly and the first to be elected as an out candidate. Along with Rep. Reed Gusciora, Eustace authored the New Jersey Marriage Equality bill.
LaWana Mayfield – Charlotte City Council (District 3), North Carolina
Mayfield was elected in 2011 and is currently serving her first term. After the election Mayfield became the Council’s 2nd African American elected female and the first Openly LGBT Elected Official in the City of Charlotte.
Chris Seelbach – Cincinnati City Council (At-Large), Ohio
Running for his second term, Cincinnati City Council Member Chris Seelbach made history in 2011 when he became the first openly gay person ever elected in Cincinnati. Chris was recently named by the White House as a Harvey Milk Champion of Change.