Election News

Are U.S. voters electing fewer and fewer LGBTQ candidates?

Are U.S. voters electing fewer and fewer LGBTQ candidates?
Gov. Kate Brown talks with members of the media to preview legislation for the upcoming session at the Capitol Building, in Salem, Ore., on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. Photo: AP Photo/Timothy J. Gonzalez

“At least Kate Brown got elected.”

For LGBTQ Oregonians, the election of the first openly LGBTQ governor in the United States represents a glimmer of hope in a dark political sky. But there are fewer of those bright spots this election cycle.

On Tuesday, voters ended up with fewer LGBTQ lawmakers than they had before. It’s the second cycle in which that number has declined, according to the Washington Post.

In Congress, all six out LGBTQ incumbents up for re-election held onto their seats, but none of the 13 out candidates looking to defeat incumbents were successful.

It’s the number of state legislators that took a real hit. Five of the 110 state legislative seats held by LGBTQ politicians were lost in Tuesday’s election. These are the candidates who won their races.

Four states —Delaware, Hawaii, South Dakota, and West Virginia — lost their only LGBTQ state legislator. There are now 14 states without any out state lawmakers.

The number of out lawmakers peaked at 119 in 2014, but has since declined. The first out LGBTQ state legislator, Massachusetts’ Elaine Noble, was elected in 1974. Minnesota’s Allan Spear came out in 1974 after being elected in 1972.

Still, 70 percent of LGBTQ candidates won their races. And, as the Washington Post notes, those losses could be attributed to the fact that five out legislators reached their term limits.

Of the 148 who ran, just six were Republicans.



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