Election 2024

Queer candidates won big on Super Tuesday

Julie Johnson/Lauren Ashley Simmons/Jennifer Tran
Julie Johnson/Lauren Ashley Simmons/Jennifer Tran Photo: Mikala Compton of Austin American-Statesman/USA Today Network/campaign websites

The results are in, and Super Tuesday’s big winner was… the LGBTQ+ community. Nationwide, queer candidates turned out the vote.

From Texas to Vermont, voters rejected the GOP’s slurs about LGBTQ+ people, advancing them as potential political leaders instead. From a likely new member of Congress in Texas to “the first out queer mayor in the state of Vermont,” queer candidates stormed the ballot box.

Here are some of the notable winners.

Texas congressional candidate Julie Johnson

State Rep. Julie Johnson (D) won her primary race and will face off against the winner of a Republican runoff that will be held in May. While Johnson is able to build her campaign and fundraise for the general election, her would-be opponent will be forced to run against another Republican, spending campaign cash to do so. The district is also solidly Democratic, making it likely that Johnson will become the first out member of Congress from a Southern state.

California congressional candidate Will Rollins

Rollins was the Democratic nominee for the district encompassing Palm Springs in the last election, barely losing to Rep. Ken Calvert (R). Calvert, a 15-term incumbent, has been repeatedly named as the most corrupt member of Congress, and new district boundaries include the gay mecca. Rollins will soar to victory this year if he can increase turnout in Palm Springs.

California congressional candidate Jennifer Tran

Tran will face off against fellow Democrat Lateefah Simon to succeed LGBTQ+ ally Barbara Lee in the San Francisco area. Lee left the seat to run for deceased Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D) former Senate seat. The winner will take the seat under California’s election laws that pit the top two vote-getters against each other in the general election. Tran identifies as queer.

Texas state house candidate Lauren Ashley Simmons 

Simmons, a Black queer woman, has the chance to boot a Democrat who voted for the state’s ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth out of office. A runoff election will decide the winner.

California state senate candidate Lisa Middleton

Middleton, a Palm Springs city councilor, would be California’s first transgender state legislator if she wins the race against Republican Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh.

Texas state senate candidate Molly Cook

An emergency room nurse, Cook advanced to a run-off election against fellow Democrat Jarvis Johnson. The winner will face Republican Joseph Trahan in the race to represent the Houston area in the state senate.

Vermont mayoral candidate Emma Mulvaney-Stanak

Burlington, Vermont, elected a lesbian and member of the Progressive Party as mayor. She will be the first woman to lead the biggest city in the state. After the election, she told the media, “I am pretty darn sure that I’m the first out queer mayor in the state of Vermont.”

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