Election News

Meet six new LGBTQ state lawmakers who just won their first elections all over the country

Democratic candidate for Rhode Island Senate District 6, Tiara Mack, is one of many new, out lawmakers in the U.S.
Democratic Rhode Island Senator Tiara Mack is one of many new, out lawmakers in the U.S. Photo: Benjamin Branchaud

There are dozens of out LGBTQ people running for first-time elections to state senate or state representative positions across the United States.

Some races were clear-cut early on. For example, out candidate Jabari Brisport ran unopposed in his Brooklyn, New York race. He is now a New York State Senator-elect.

Related: Out House candidates who faced vicious anti-LGBTQ attacks lose their races

Other races called last night for first-time, in-state candidates include trans candidate Taylor Small of Vermont, making history as the new representative-to-be for two districts in the state legislature. Kim Jackson was elected to the Georgia state senate. Michele Rayner made history by being elected as an out Black woman, and Shevrin Jones won reelection for the first time since coming out, both firsts for the Florida state legislature.

In the Midwest, Stephanie Byers becomes the first transgender person of color in a state legislature by eking out a victory in Kansas. Non-binary Black Muslim millennial Mauree Turner has won their race in Oklahoma.

Also, Sarah McBride became the highest ranking trans legislator in the country by winning a seat on the Delaware state senate.

Now, more candidates have had their elections called overnight and into this morning. Here are seven more out LGBTQ legislator-elects across the country:

Tiara Mack won election virtually seamlessly in Rhode Island’s 6th Senate District. She has 90 percent of the vote with 93 percent of the precincts reporting, and the New York Times has projected her victory.

The district, which encompasses the state’s capital in Providence, is typically Democratic, but Mack had to first unseat the previous seatholder, Harold Metts, who had served as a state senator since 2005. Mack met the task, defeating Metts – who is regarded as anti-LGBTQ – by 20 percent in September.

Mack is 26.

“The biggest thing that’s on the top of [my] mind for me is having leaders who are going to be bold and explain that we cannot sit back and watch our society and our world and our communities fall apart during a global pandemic,” Mack said in an interview with LGBTQ Nation last month.

“We have [to have] some people who are not just planning to work this fiscal year. We have to have people who are planning for the next five years, the next ten years, with people-centered policies.”

Marie Pinkney, a social worker, foster mom, and child’s advocate has won election to Delaware’s senate – the same chamber as Sarah McBride – and she is the first openly queer woman elected to the legislature. This was her first campaign, and she defeated the state senate President pro tem, David McBride, who had held his seat in the 13th district for 40 years.

That means Delaware’s senate will keep the same amount of ‘McBride’ representation in the upcoming term, but add two members of the LGBTQ community.

The Victory Fund celebrated Pinkney’s projected win, along with Jackson’s and Mack’s, in a press release.

Adrian Tam is heading to Hawai’i’s House of Representatives after defeating Republican Nicholas Ochs, who was the founder of the far-right Proud Boys’ Hawai’i organization. Tam, who is gay, will become the only out person serving in the state legislator.

The New York Times shows that Tam won with 68 percent of the vote in the 22nd District. NPR and Honolulu Civil Beat also have called it in his favor.

“Ultimately, I will work with anyone to pass good legislation for the people… You can be reassured I will do what’s best for Hawaii and for its future, and if that means working with someone I absolutely despise or someone I don’t agree with, I will work with them,” Tam told LGBTQ Nation in an August interview.

Both Torrey Harris and Eddie Mannis were elected as the first out LGBTQ candidates ever to win seats in the Tennessee state legislature.

Harris is a Democrat that will represent the 90th state district in Memphis. He becomes the state’s first gay Black representative and the youngest lawmaker as well at age 29. The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports he earned 77 percent of the vote.

Mannis is a Republican that won in the 18th district near Knoxville. “I’m excited for things to come, I’m excited for what we can do… I’m excited to have gone through this process with all of you,” he said after his victory.

He defeated his opponent, Virginia Couch, with 55 percent of the vote in a race that included in-fighting from state Republicans. His win makes him one of the few successful LGBTQ Republicans to ascend to elected office.

A third out candidate in Tennessee, Brandon Thomas, is not faring so well. He is currently down in reported figures from the state’s 49th district.

Ann Johnson bought the Democratic Party a bright spot in the state of Texas by winning the 134th state district against Rep. Sarah Davis. Davis’s pro-choice stance may have hampered support within her conservative base inside the already Democratic-favoring Harris County, also known as Houston.

The Victory Fund also championed Johnson’s victory. “Her victory is a positive sign that more LGBTQ voices are joining the Texas legislature,” Annise Parker of the Victory Fund said in a statement. “Texas is home to some of the worst anti-LGBTQ legislation in the nation, but now there’s an increasing number of state legislators to stop bigots in their tracks.”

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