Progressive LGBTQ+ groups celebrated the pro-equality LGBTQ+ candidates running in key midterm races across the country on Tuesday, several of whom claimed victory as Election Day stretched into the night.
Becca Balint and Maura Healey were among the first candidates whose races were called, both becoming the first women and the first LGBTQ+ people elected to, respectively, represent Vermont in Congress and serve as governor of Massachusetts.
The LGBTQ Victory Fund, which supports pro-choice LGBTQ+ candidates, toasted the candidates’ success “shattering lavender and glass ceilings.”
“The future of LGBTQ equality and women’s rights were on the ballot — and Vermonters delivered tonight,” Victory Fund President Mayor Annise Parker said in a press release on Balint’s win. “For nearly a decade, Becca led efforts to pass meaningful legislation to increase fairness and equity within Vermont. Now, she is ready to do the same in Congress.”
In a press release announcing Healey’s victory, Parker said, “In the face of so much hate and intolerance sweeping our nation, her win is a sign — especially to LGBTQ+ kids in desperate need of hope — that LGBTQ+ people have a place in American society and can become respected public leaders.”
LPAC, a group that supports women and nonbinary LGBTQ candidates running for public office, also published press releases celebrating Healey and Balint on Tuesday afternoon.
Just before midnight, the Victory Fund called Robert Garcia’s victory for California’s 42nd Congressional District. Garcia will be the first openly gay immigrant elected to Congress.
“We are confident Robert’s deep policy experience and ability to build strong, diverse coalitions will make him an exceptional legislator,” Parker said. “His win tonight will inspire countless other LGBTQ and first-generation Americans to pursue careers in public service.”
Democrat and LGBTQ+ ally Wes Moore also made history on Tuesday, becoming Maryland’s first Black governor-elect in his race against Donald Trump-backed far-right candidate Dan Cox, while openly gay Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) won their reelection bids.
Democrat and LGBTQ ally Maxwell Alejandro Frost, 25, became the first Generation Z candidate to win a Congressional seat, where he will represent Florida’s 10th Congressional District in the House.
In Michigan, openly lesbian Attorney General Dana Nessel edged out her opponent, Republican challenger Matthew DePerno.
Per pool reports, by 11:30 p.m. ET, President Joe Biden made congratulatory calls to Healey; Polis; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.); U.S. Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.); Democratic Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee; Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker; Democratic Maine Gov. Janet Mills; U.S. Sens. Michael Bennett (D-Colo.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.); U.S. Reps. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.), U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser), U.S. Sen.-elects Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Seth Magaziner (D-R.I.), and Pennsylvania Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro.
Meanwhile, Tina Kotek is locked in a close race for Oregon’s governorship whose outcome may not be clear until later this week. If elected, she would join Healey as the nation’s first openly lesbian governor.
And the fates of LGBTQ+ candidates in closer races for seats in the lower chamber are still unclear. These include U.S. Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Sharice Davids (D-Kan.), who are running for reelection, along with Jamie McLeod-Skinner and Will Rollins, who are competing for House seats in Oregon and California, respectively.
Heather Mizeur, who would have been Maryland’s first openly lesbian member of Congress, conceded her defeat Tuesday evening to incumbent Republican Maryland Congressman Andy Harris.
A historic number of LGBTQ+ candidates ran for elected office this year, advocacy groups said. The Victory Fund endorsed 411 people in races in 49 states, D.C., Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Human Rights Campaign, America’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group, also touted the diverse pool of candidates in the midterms, citing the record numbers of transgender and gender nonconforming people who ran this year. The organization also noted that the electorate is composed of more LGBTQ voters than ever before.
“We will continue to stand and fight every day alongside our allies and partners across the country, in support of a pro-democracy, pro-equality, and pro-choice future,” Interim HRC President Joni Madison said in a press release from the organization.
This is a developing story, as election results are still being confirmed. This article originally appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National Gay Media Association.