Women, LGBTQ Candidates Strip GOP Stronghold of House in Historic 2018 Midterms

Women, LGBTQ Candidates Strip GOP Stronghold of House in Historic 2018 Midterms

Women won big in the 2018 Midterm Elections. Photo: Twitter
Women won big in the 2018 Midterm Elections. Photo: Twitter

Tuesday night’s 2018 midterm election results are expected to hypercharge a national conversation around the urgent need to pass a comprehensive federal law that protects LGBTQ Americans from discrimination. Democrats will control the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019 – and have already indicated that passing a federal nondiscrimination bill will be a top priority. And the historic victory in Massachusetts – where, for the first time ever, voters affirmed transgender nondiscrimination protections at the ballot, offers advocates a clear roadmap for how to win in other states.

“LGBTQ Americans should feel excited and energized this morning. For the first time in years, our movement has a clear path forward for how we can win nondiscrimination protections at the state level, and how our work in the states can generate momentum for action in Congress,” said Masen Davis, Freedom for All Americans’ CEO.

“We are strong where our opposition thought us weak,” Davis added. “We’ve learned how to build robust  and inclusive coalitions that demonstrate the depth of support for LGBTQ Americans – and we saw once again last night that when we build those strong coalitions, and when we center our own voices and help our friends and neighbors understand the insidious toll discrimination takes on each of us, we win. Now it’s time to roll-up our sleeves and get back to work. At Freedom for All Americans, we now have a window of opportunity to move the needle in key states, galvanize progress at the federal level, and achieve transformational improvements nationwide for all LGBTQ Americans.”

President Barack Obama released a statement Wednesday morning following the 2018 midterm election results.

“I congratulate everybody who showed up and participated in our democracy yesterday,” the statement said. “Obviously, the Democrats’ success in flipping the House of Representatives, several governorships, and state legislatures will get the most attention. But even more important than what we won is how we won: by competing in places we haven’t been competitive in a long time, and by electing record numbers of women and young veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, a surge of minority candidates, and a host of outstanding young leaders. The more Americans who vote, the more our elected leaders look like America.”

Obama added, “I also want to congratulate voters across the country for turning out in record numbers, and for voting for several ballot initiatives that will improve the lives of the American people – like raising the minimum wage, expanding Medicaid, and strengthening voting rights.”

Obama added that the work was far from over.

“Our work goes on,” he stated. “The change we need won’t come from one election alone – but it is a start. Last night, voters across the country started it. And I’m hopeful that going forward, we’ll begin a return to the values we expect in our public life – honesty, decency, compromise, and standing up for one another as Americans, not separated by our differences, but bound together by one common creed.”

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said, “We have all had enough of division.”

Rainbow Wave

The 2018 midterm elections were historic for LGBTQ, people of color and women candidates as several swept to victory in a wave of opposition to the Trump Administration’s anti-LGBTQ, hate-fueled, and anti-woman policies.

As of this Wednesday morning, the LGBTQ Victory Fund notes that LGBTQ people won 8 federal office seats, 86 state office seats, and 34 local office seats. Sharice Davids of Kansas became the first out Native American woman elected to Congress. Angie Craig of Minnesota and Chris Pappas of New Hampshire became their states’ first out officials elected to Congress. Jared Polis of Colorado became the first openly gay person elected Governor. Bi incumbent Governor Kate Brown of Oregon was re-elected to a new term and incumbent Senator Tammy Baldwin will continue to represent Wisconsin as an out U.S. Senator. Out incumbent members of Congress David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, Mark Pocan of Wisconsin and Mark Tacano of California were all re-elected.

“Sharice Davids made history tonight as the next congresswoman from Kansas, showing the Trump-Pence administration that LGBTQ people of color are here, visible and that our fight for equality continues to move forward,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “From civil rights to health care to education, on issue after issue, Davids is committed to making the United States a stronger, more vibrant and inclusive nation. We look forward to working closely with Congresswoman Davids to pass commonsense federal protections for LGBTQ people through the Equality Act.”

Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk who became famous resisting marriage equality, lost her bid for re-election. The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Democratic challenger Elwood Caudill, Jr. won the race “by about 700 votes.”

“This election is shaping up to be truly historic for LGBTQ candidates and, coupled with the change in leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives, shows a rejection of the hate-fueled politics of the Trump Administration that have heartlessly targeted LGBTQ people, women, immigrants, Muslims and all vulnerable populations,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD.

Ellis added, “The new House of Representatives is a critical check against the Trump Administration’s continued abuse of power and a strong signal that acceptance and inclusion are core American values. We must continue to grow the energy and enthusiasm from diverse voters across the country as LGBTQ Americans and our allies continue to push forward for equal protections under the law and grow support for writing explicit anti-discrimination into the U.S. Constitution.”

Voters in Massachusetts supported a “Yes” vote on Question 3, upholding the state’s transgender nondiscrimination law which protects transgender people from discrimination in public spaces like restaurants, hotels and hospitals. The victory in Massachusetts marks the first statewide popular vote in favor of rights for transgender Americans.

“Voters in Massachusetts made history and sent a clear message that transgender rights are human rights,” Ellis continued. “The personal stories of so many transgender people in Massachusetts coupled with support from allies in business, faith communities, sports, and so many areas of the state, shattered stereotypes and sparked this historic show of acceptance. This victory for transgender people all around the country is the latest sign that the Trump Administration’s attempts to discriminate against transgender Americans are completely out of step with where the American public is.”

This was the first time there was a statewide vote on transgender nondiscrimination protections. Republican Governor Charlie Baker signed the nondiscrimination law two years ago after it passed the legislature with bipartisan supermajority support, and he was among the many elected officials and Massachusetts stakeholders supporting the campaign to uphold the measure. The win ensures that Massachusetts remains one of more than 250 cities and 19 states across the country with similarly comprehensive laws in place.

In October, GLAAD launched its first-ever “Electing Acceptance” candidate survey – the only national candidate survey dedicated to LGBTQ acceptance – which received responses from 356 candidates running for U.S. House and U.S. Senate seats, as well as for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, in the 2018 midterm election. 245 Democratic candidates responded and only 32 Republican candidates responded. 99% of the Democrats who responded are categorized as “allies,” meaning they responded they are “comfortable” across seven scenarios involving LGBTQ people.

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