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Here are 10 of our favorite LGBTQ candidates this year

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Over 400 LGBTQ candidates are running for office this year. Here are some of our favorites.

According to the Victory Institute’s 2018 “Out For America” report, more than 400 LGBTQ candidates are running for office in this election cycle. We’ve picked out a few of our favorite candidates and races to observe.

Gabriel Acevero

A native of Trinidad, Acevero is a union organizer and political activist. He has worked on political campaigns, including the 2012 Question 6 campaign, which resulted in Maryland becoming the first state to approve marriage equality at the ballot box.

The National Black Justice Coalition, an LGBTQ+ and civil rights organization, recently named him one of its “100 Black LGBTQ Emerging Leaders to Watch” for his work on LGBTQ homelessness. Acevero will be the first openly gay Afro-Latino man elected to the Maryland General Assembly.

Nelson Araujo

Born to immigrant parents who migrated from El Salvador to the United States in the 1980’s, Araujo is running to become Nevada’s Secretary of State. Araujo was the first person in his family to graduate from high school and earn a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree.

In 2014, he won election to the Nevada Assembly, where he helped to defeat an anti-transgender bathroom bill, and won significant protections for LGBTQ youth in foster care. Araujo would be the first openly LGBTQ person elected statewide in Nevada, and the first openly LGBTQ person elected Secretary of State in the US.

Shannon Baldwin

Before becoming a candidate for Judge in the Harris County, Texas Criminal Court, Baldwin practiced law for 21 years, trying cases from traffic violations up to capital murder. She joined the US Army Reserves in 1987 and graduated from college as a 2nd Lieutenant.

Baldwin went on to graduate Cum Laude from John Marshall Law School in Atlanta, Georgia. She is married to her wife Anita Williams, and they have a 6-month-old daughter.

Alexandra Chandler

Last year, Danica Roem made history when she became the first openly transgender person elected to the Virginia State Assembly. This year, Alexandra Chandler is running to become the state’s first out transgender woman elected to Congress.

Along with being a wife and mother, Chandler was also a top military intelligence analyst. “What I can tell you about me is that I’m tough, I can stand up for myself, and so I can stand up for you,” Chandler says.

Christine Hallquist

A former CEO of Vermont Electric Cooperative, where she transformed the utility into a national leader on climate change, Halquist seeks to become the first openly transgender governor in the United States by winning her Vermont election.

In 2015, she made headlines as the first CEO in the country to transition on the job. Halquist has placed rural economic development, universal health care, solving climate change, and quality public education at the center of her campaign.

Ricardo Lara

Son of a seamstress and factory worker who came to this country seeking a better a better life, Lara is running for Insurance Commissioner to defend a better life for all Californians. A leading advocate for consumers and working families, Lara wrote California’s universal healthcare legislation and won health care for 218,000 children. He led the fight to gain equal pay for women, and raise California’s minimum wage. Lara would be the first openly LGBTQ official elected statewide in California.

Richard Madaleno

Selected as a “Game Changer” by the Victory Fund, Maryland State Senator Richard Madaleno is running to make history as Maryland’s first openly gay governor. In 2002 he was the first openly gay candidate elected to the House of Delegates, and in 2006 he became the first openly gay candidate elected to the State Senate.

Madaleno has successfully passed vital legislation on several issues, and in 2012 he led the fight to pass marriage equality in Maryland.

Chris Pappas

Small business owner and community leader, Pappas is seeking to represent New Hampshire’s First Congressional District. After graduating from Harvard College in 2002, Pappas returned to the state to help run his family’s business. The same year, he won election as a State Representative and served two terms before being elected the Treasurer of Hillsborough County.

Since 2013, he’s represented District 4 on the New Hampshire Executive Council. Pappas would be the first openly LGBTQ person elected to Congress from New Hampshire.

Kyrsten Sinema

Sinema served in the Arizona state legislature, where she advocated for veterans, children’s health care, and education. In 2012, Sinema was elected to Congress.

Now in her third term as Representative of Arizona’s 9th Congressional District, Sinema is running to become the first openly bisexual member of the US Senate. She will also be the first female Senator from Arizona.

Lupe Valdez

As sheriff, Lupe Valdez was the highest ranking law enforcement officer in Dallas County, Texas. One of eight children born to migrant farm workers, prior to becoming sheriff, Valdez served as a US Army captain, a US Customs agent, and Department of Homeland Security agent.

Lupe would be the first openly LGBTQ governor of Texas, the first openly LGBTQ Latinx person elected governor in the US, and the second openly LGBTQ woman governor in the US.

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