This off-year election brought out over 500 LGBTQ+ candidates for political offices around the country, according to LGBTQ+ Victory Fund’s “Out on the Trail Report 2023.” There were increases in candidates who identify as bisexual, pansexual and queer, including an over 600% increase in genderqueer/nonbinary candidates and a 50% increase in transgender women candidates. LGBTQ+ candidates of color increased by 11%.
Some of these elections happened earlier this year, but the Nov. 7 elections brought victories to a number of LGBTQ+ candidates.
In the biggest news of the night, Danica Roem was elected to the Virginia State senate, making her the first out transgender person to do so. Roem had served three terms as part of the Virginia House of Delegates prior to running for House of Delegates. Also in Virginia, Democrats regained control of both houses of the General Assembly, including wins for out LGBTQ+ candidates Adam Ebbin, Joshua Cole (Virginia House of Delegates, District 65) and Laura Jane Cohen (Virginia House of Delegates, District 15).
Ohio LGBTQ+ candidates took home wins in several elections including Reggie Harris, who will be the first gay Black man elected to the Cincinnati City Council. Sam Bowling is the first out lesbian to be elected to the Norwood City Council, Charlotte Bruewer and Melody N. Mayle will serve on the Golf Manor Village Council, Brittney Klockowski will serve on Weston City Council, Bobby McDowall will serve a fourth term on the Mogadore Village Council andSandra Kurt will be the next City Clerk of the Akron Municipal Court. For a full list of LGBTQ+ elected officials, check out Buckeye Flame’s breakdown.
Ohio made national news this election cycle as well for Issue 1, a ballot measure that would enshrine reproductive rights including abortion, into Ohio’s constitution. The measure passed with 56% of the votes. Ohioans also voted to make marijuana legal in the state, making it the 24th state to do so.
Like Ohio, Pennsylvanians elected a number of LGBTQ+ candidates this off year election cycle. Rue Landau has been elected to the Philadelphia City Council, making her the first LGBTQ+ candidate in the position.
Queer and gender-nonconforming candidate Amelia McMillan picked up one of the open seats on the Central York School Board in Pennsylvania. Along with three other candidates, McMilian put out a television spot opposing book bans. Katrina Eames, also queer and gender-nonconforming, will serve on the Northgate School District school board. Daniel Kolbe will serve on the State College School Board. Jess Branas will serve on the Upper Darby Town Council, Brad Iannuzzi will serve on the Etna Borough Council, while Chesley Lightsey joins the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
In Mississippi, Fabian Nelson was officially elected into the Mississippi House of Representatives. Nelson ran unopposed on the ticket for District 66 and will be Mississippi’s first out LGBTQ+ legislator.
In Florida, Orlando City Council member Patty Sheehan was re-elected for a seventh time. Sheehan celebrated by having a drag queen at her victory party, flouting Florida’s anti-drag legislation which is currently blocked by an appellate court decision.
Susanna Johnson is currently leading the vote count for Snohomish County Sheriff in Washington, and her win would make her the first out LGBTQ+ person to serve in the position. Also leading in returns in Washington is Joy Holingsworth, who ran for Seattle City Council District 3.
In Massachusetts, Councilor Liz Breadon retained her seat on the Boston City Council. J. Christian Dumais was elected Mayor of Marlborough, and is the first out LGBTQ+ person to hold the position. Andrew Fitch was elected to the North Adams City Council and Benjamin Harman will serve on the Newburyport City Council, representing Ward 4.
Mitra Jalali, Councilmember for Ward 4 Saint Paul, Minnesota will retain her seat for another full term. Jason Chavez will join the Minneapolis City Council, and will be the first out LGBTQ+ Latino person to do so.
In North Carolina, assistant district attorney David Joyner will be the first out gay man elected to the Wilmington City Council. Catherine Fray will serve the Town Council in Carrboro after working on the Carrboro Planning Board for a decade. Matt Hughes was reelected to the Hillsborough Board of Commissioners.
We’ll bring you more results as they become available.