Victory Fund Endorses 32 New LGBTQ Candidates for 2020; Historic Opportunities in State Legislatures

Ten candidates are designated Spotlight Candidates

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LGBTQ Victory Fund, the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office, endorsed 32 new openly LGBTQ candidates for 2020 races – including state legislative candidates who can break new ground in their chambers. More openly LGBTQ candidates will run for office in 2020 than in any previous election year, surpassing the 712 candidates who ran in the “Rainbow Wave” of 2018. Victory Fund has endorsed 122 LGBTQ candidates for 2020 so far.

Ten candidates were awarded Spotlight Candidate status, which releases additional Victory Fund resources to support their campaigns. Spotlight Candidates are chosen because they are running to be a historic first or are challenging an anti-LGBTQ opponent. New endorsees who received Spotlight Candidate endorsements include:

  • Gray Ellis, who will become the first openly trans man elected to a state legislature if he wins his North Carolina State Senate race; and
  • Jessica Benham, who will become the first openly LGBTQ woman elected to the Pennsylvania state legislature and the first openly autistic woman to win a state legislative seat in the U.S., if she wins her state House race.

Previously endorsed candidates who were upgraded to Spotlight Candidate status include:

  • Todd Gloria, who could become the first openly LGBTQ person elected mayor of San Diego;
  • Mary Washington, who could become the first openly LGBTQ mayor of Baltimore;
  • Sarah McBride, who will become the first openly trans woman elected to a state senate if she wins in Delaware;
  • Kim Jackson, who could become the first openly LGBTQ Georgia state Senator;
  • Shevrin Jones, who could become the first openly LGBTQ Florida state Senator;
  • Marque Snow, who could become the first openly LGBTQ man elected to the Nebraska Legislature;
  • Shawn Terry, who could become the only openly LGBTQ man currently serving in the Texas state legislature; and
  • Charmaine McGuffey, who is running for Hamilton County (OH) Sheriff and was fired by the current sheriff for speaking out against prison and police abuse.

Victory Fund has endorsed 74 state legislative candidates for 2020. Fifteen are candidates who will become the first LGBTQ state legislator in their chamber, 18 are considered key redistricting targets to secure pro-equality majorities, and 22 are in states with low levels of equality for LGBTQ people, according to the Movement Advancement Project.

Also endorsed is Game Changer candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who will be the second openly LGBTQ person elected statewide in Oregon if she wins her race for Secretary of State.

“We are witnessing a Rainbow Revolution in American politics – with more than 720 LGBTQ candidates running in parts of the country and for high-level positions thought unthinkable just a decade ago. We can shatter expectations for our community by electing an unprecedented number of state legislators to chambers where no LGBTQ person has sat before, electing our first two trans-state senators and two new big-city mayors. But this is about more than LGBTQ politics. Our candidates are running in key races that will impact all of America in the coming years and decade.”

The complete list of candidate endorsements announced today is below:

2020 Spotlight Candidate Endorsements (Not Previously Endorsed):  

Jessica Benham
Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 36
Primary: 4/28/20 General: 11/3/20

Gray Ellis  

North Carolina State Senate, District 20

Primary: 3/3/20 General: 11/3/20

2020 Spotlight Candidate Endorsements (Previously Endorsed):

Todd Gloria   

Mayor of San Diego

Primary: 3/3/20 General: 11/3/20

Kimberly Jackson

Georgia State Senate, District 41

Primary: 5/19/20 General: 11/3/20

Shevrin Jones
Florida State Senate, District 35
Primary 6/12/20 General: 11/3/20

Sarah McBride

Delaware State Senate, District 1

Primary 9/15/20 General: 11/3/20

Charmaine McGuffey
Hamilton County (OH) Sheriff

Primary: 3/17/20 General: 11/3/20

Marque Snow

Nebraska Legislature, District 9

Primary: 5/12/20 General: 11/3/20

Shawn Terry
Texas House of Representatives, District 108
Primary: 3/3/20 General: 11/3/20

Mary Washington   

Mayor of Baltimore

Primary: 4/28/20 General: 11/3/20

2020 Game Changer Endorsement:

Jamie McLeod-Skinner
Oregon Secretary of State
Primary: 5/19/20 General: 11/3/20

2020 General Candidate Endorsements:

Vernetta Alston
North Carolina House of Representatives, District 29
Primary: 3/3/20 General: 11/3/20

Deborah Barra

Florida State Attorney, 9th Judicial Circuit

Primary: 8/18/20 General: 11/3/20

Kristen Browde 

New York State Assembly, District 93

Primary: 6/23/20 General: 11/3/20

Linda Deos  

Yolo County (CA) Board of Supervisors, District 4

Primary: 3/3/20 General: 11/3/20

Chad Klitzman

Broward County (FL) Supervisor of Elections

Primary: 8/18/20 General: 11/3/20

Jacob Meister 

Clerk of Cook County (IL) Circuit Court

Primary: 3/17/20 General: 11/3/20

John Ronquillo  

Colorado House of Representatives, District 40

Primary: 6/30/20 General: 11/3/20

Akil Patterson

Baltimore City Council, District 13

Primary: 4/28/20 General: 11/3/20

Yoni Pizer 

Illinois House of Representatives, District 12

Primary: 3/17/20 General: 11/3/20

Max Prestigiacomo
Madison Common Council, District 8
General: 4/7/20

Davin Sokup  

Minnesota State Senate, District 20

Primary: 8/11/20 General: 11/3/20

Tanner Sunderman

Minnesota House of Representatives, District 66A

Primary: 8/11/20 General: 11/3/20

Maggie Trevor 

Illinois House of Representatives, District 54

Primary: 3/17/20 General: 11/3/20

Alex Wan 

Georgia House of Representatives, District 57

Primary: 5/19/20 General: 11/3/20

2020 General Incumbent Endorsements:

John Bauters
Emeryville City (CA) Councilmember, At-Large
General: 11/3/20

Harry Bronson
New York State Assembly, District 138
Primary: 6/23/20 General: 11/3/20

Julie Carson
Wilton Manors City (FL) Commissioner
General: 11/3/20

Justin Chenette
Maine State Senate, District 31
Primary: 6/9/20 General: 11/3/20

Allison Dahle
North Carolina House of Representatives, District 11
Primary: 3/3/20 General: 11/3/20

Scott Dibble
Minnesota State Senate, District 61
Primary: 8/22/20 General: 11/3/20

Leslie Herod
Colorado House of Representatives, District 8
Primary: 6/30/20 General: 11/3/20

Kelli Johnson
Texas 178th District Court
Primary 3/3/20 General: 11/3/20

Jack Patrick Lewis
Massachusetts House of Representatives, 7th Middlesex District
Primary: 9/1/20 General: 11/3/20

Tippi McCullough
Arkansas House of Representatives, District 33
Primary: 3/3/20 General: 11/3/20

Lois Reckitt
Maine House of Representatives, District 31
Primary: 6/9/20 General: 11/3/20

Lamont Robinson
Illinois House of Representatives, District 5
Primary: 3/17/20 General: 11/3/20

Elizabeth Stefanics
New Mexico State Senate, District 39
Primary: 6/2/20 General: 11/3/20

John Strand
Fargo City (ND) Commission, At-Large
General: 6/9/20

Erin Zwiener
Texas House of Representatives, District 45
Primary 3/3/20 General: 11/3/20

More information about the candidates is available at Since 1991, Victory Fund has helped thousands of openly LGBTQ candidates win local, state and federal elections.


LGBTQ Victory Fund

LGBTQ Victory Fund works to change the face and voice of America’s politics and achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government.