It’s a good bet that many LGBTQ people will be glued to their social media and news venues on Nov. 3. The Williams Institute, an LGBTQ think tank at UCLA, estimates that over 9 million LGBTQ people are registered to vote, and other statistics point to LGBTQ people being more politically engaged than the general population, too. Looking at projections on fivethirtyeight.com, the respected poll analysis website founded and run by openly gay statistician Nate Silver, gives Democrat Joe Biden an 87 percent chance of winning the White House. He gives Democrats a 96 percent chance of keeping the House and a 74 percent chance of taking control of the Senate. In addition to the other important national contests, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund estimates that “at least 574 LGBTQ candidates” are on the ballot on Nov. 3. Its website identifies about 300 who have won their explicit endorsement and financial support.
To fill LGBTQ readers in on the most important national LGBTQ races, here’s an hour-by-hour guide to how the night of Nov. 3 will unfold for major LGBTQ candidates and for the contests to control the U.S. House, Senate and the White House.
U.S. HOUSE SEAT – Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District
Most of Indiana will vote until 7 p.m., but South Bend, home of former Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg, closes at 6 p.m. There, probate attorney Pat Hackett is making her second try at unseating four-time Republican incumbent Jackie Walorski. Walorski’s record on LGBTQ issues has earned her a seven out of a possible 100 score from the Human Rights Campaign. A graduate of Liberty Baptist College and a staunch Trump supporter, Walorski has raised $2.2 million for her campaign, compared to Hackett’s $770,000. Only $11,500 of Hackett’s support has come from LGBT political action committees, including the Equality PAC of the Congressional LGBTQ Equality Caucus, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and the L PAC. Buttigieg made a statement in support of Hackett but, as of Oct. 14, his Win the Era PAC had not contributed to her campaign. Hackett has a master’s degree in theology from Notre Dame and lives in South Bend with her spouse Rita.
FLORIDA – Mayoral Seats in Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manors
These are among the most heavily LGBTQ municipalities in Florida. The Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel endorsed openly gay incumbent Mayor Dean Trantalis with a strong editorial supporting a second term. He’s seen as having a relatively easy path to reelection. Wilton Manors City Commissioner Julie Carson, a lesbian and cancer survivor, decided to run for the mayoral seat only last February when incumbent openly gay Mayor Justin Flippen died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. She faces two other candidates, including another former mayor. South Florida Gay News Publisher Norm Kent wrote last week that, while her opponents are worthy candidates, Carson “galvanized” the community of 12,500 following Flippen’s death and has “judiciously integrated our community’s social responsibilities” with the town’s economic needs.
VIRGINIA – Richmond Mayoral Seat
Lesbian civic leader Alexsis Rodgers, 29, has taken on a steep climb, trying to unseat a popular mayor in a five-way race of Virginia’s capital city. It’s her first bid at elective office, but she’s raised the second-largest amount of money after incumbent Mayor Levar Stoney. That gives her a fighting chance to be one of two candidates in a possible runoff come December — Richmond has an odd Electoral College-like system that often leads to runoffs. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported recently that a poll of likely voters had Rodgers a distant third place, but 30 percent of voters were undecided.
There are 60 votes in six states on the line at this hour. Four of the six states — Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, with a cumulative 44 electoral votes — went to Trump in 2016. Two states — Virginia and Vermont, with 16 electoral votes — went to Clinton. But polling in Georgia is unusually close in 2020; the latest, by CBS Oct. 23, showed a tie. An upset there could ring like the shot heard round the world. At this point, considering the polls are so close, and sticking with the historic voting patterns, the probable electoral vote count will be Trump 44 to Biden 16.
U.S. SENATE RACES
There are three closes races closing out this hour and Democrats have a decent chance of picking up two new seats.
The two are in Georgia. Both Republican incumbents — David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler — have poor voting records on LGBTQ issues, and their Democratic challengers — Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock — have support from the LGBTQ community. The latest polls showed Perdue with only a 1-point lead over Ossoff, and Warnock with a 6-point lead over Loeffler.
In South Carolina, the Human Rights Campaign scored Republican incumbent Lindsey Graham a consistent zero. When asked in a recent campaign interview about his support for the right of same-sex couples to marry, Graham said, “I have tried to be tolerant, I’ve tried to understand that people have different life experience. But I can tell you right now, when it comes to South Carolina, I think I’ve been an effective voice for who we are.” The latest poll shows Graham with a 6-point lead over challenger Jaime Harrison. HRC has endorsed both Warnock and Harrison.
North Carolina Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, Mark Robinson, has said he would not support “this mass delusion called transgenderism.” In West Virginia, State House Delegate John Mandt Jr., running for reelection, resigned suddenly after news reports drew attention to a Facebook chat posting in which he appeared to ask whether another member of the House was a “homo” and suggested the member was probably bisexual. Mandt’s name is still on the ballot, however, and he says he’ll serve a new term if reelected. In Ohio, lesbian Charmaine McGuffey is running for sheriff of Hamilton County, which includes Cincinnati.
There are 38 electoral votes at stake in three states: North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia. Trump won all 38 in 2016. The latest polling has been swinging back and forth. Different polls on the same days in North Carolina showed Trump with a 1-point lead and Biden with a 4-point lead. The same thing was seen in Ohio, where two conservative-leaning polls showed Trump ahead by 3 percentage points and Biden ahead by 1 during the same time period. West Virginia is solidly Trump. The probable electoral vote count is Trump 82 to Biden 16.
U.S. SENATE RACES
There’s a reasonable chance Democrats will pick up another Senate seat this hour. At latest polling, North Carolina’s Senate polling has been somewhat erratic — from a tie a few days ago to a 6-point Democratic lead on Oct. 23. The Human Rights Campaign Fund and gay presidential contender Pete Buttigieg have endorsed Democrat Cal Cunningham. Republican incumbent Thom Tillis scores a consistent zero in HRC’s Congressional scorecard on LGBTQ issues.
U.S. HOUSE SEATS
Of the four LGBTQ candidates for Congressional seats, two seem on their way to easy reelection: Sharice Davids, a first-termer from Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District, and David Cicilline, from Rhode Island’s 1st.
- In New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District: First-term incumbent Chris Pappas’ Republican opponent last week tried to draw attention to Pappas being gay by drawing attention to his boyfriend, a move the Victory Fund criticized as a “dog whistle” for anti-LGBTQ sentiments. The media attacking the boyfriend seemed to focus on him being a former lobbyist for Amazon, but it also seemed interested that the Republican candidate, Matt Mowers, did consulting work for pharmaceutical companies. Fivethirtyeight says Pappas has a 10-point advantage.
- In Michigan’s 6th Congressional District: Jon Hoadley has also been hearing the dog whistle in his bid to unseat Republican incumbent Fred Upton. According to the Victory Fund, the National Republican Congressional Committee has posted Twitter messages and sent out a campaign mailer to voters’ homes, describing Hoadley as a “pedo sex poet.” Upton, meanwhile, has the endorsement of the national Log Cabin Republicans group. RealClearPolitics calls it a toss-up, though Upton has a 4.5-point advantage.
During this hour, 172 electoral votes are in play. In 2016, Trump won 94. This year, two of those states — Florida with 29 electoral votes and Pennsylvania with 20 — are in play. Trump’s youngest daughter Tiffany spoke to an LGBTQ rally organized by gay Trump appointee Richard Grenell on Oct. 17. Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith dismissed the event as “a pathetic attempt to hide his appalling record,” adding that, “Donald Trump is the worst President the LGBTQ community has ever seen.” At deadline, Biden had about a 2-point lead in Florida and a 7-point lead in Pennsylvania. If they split the baby, Trump gets Florida, Biden gets Pennsylvania, resulting in a probable vote count of Trump 155 to Biden 115. But keep in mind, many political number crunchers say that, barring unusual outcomes in Georgia or Texas, Pennsylvania is Biden’s must-have ticket to 270.
U.S. HOUSE SEATS
- In Minnesota 2nd House District: Angie Craig won her seat in 2018 and polls suggest voters are leaning her way for reelection. But a complication for Craig developed when a third-party candidate for the seat died. Under state law, if a “major party” candidate dies within 79 days of a November election, a special election must be held in February. Craig filed suit and won an order, Oct. 9, from a federal district court judge. But her Republican opponent has appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, so the election should be delayed until February.
- In Texas’ 23rd House District: Gina Ortiz Jones appears poised to win a vacant seat from the San Antonio area. She lost by only 1,000 in 2018 and the incumbent has decided to retire this year. She’s won the endorsement of San Antonio’s mayor and the San Antonio Express-News. If elected, she’ll become the first openly LGBTQ person to represent Texas in Congress.
- In New York’s 18th House District: Incumbent Sean Patrick Maloney is hoping to win a fifth term. Fivethirtyeight says he has an 18-point advantage. Three newcomers seeking U.S. House seats from New York are facing tougher battles, but they have promise.
- In New York’s 15th House District: Democrat Ritchie Torres is hoping to fill a seat representing the Bronx that was left vacant by a Democrat’s resignation. Torres beat out a field of 15 Democratic candidates in the primary. He’s won the endorsement of former President Barrack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. His chances are good of joining the LGBT Caucus in Congress.
- In New York’s 17th House District: Democrat Mondaire Jones is seen as the front-runner in a three-way race to replace retiring Democrat Nina Lowey in this seat north of New York City. He is expected to win, but he’s faced some challenges from a third-party candidate in recent days.
- In New York’s 23rd House District: Newcomer Tracy Mitrano is having a harder time in her bid to unseat a 10-term Republican whom she lost to by 9 points in a 2018 bid. But the latest poll showed her within 2 points this time.
- In Wisconsin’s 2nd House District: Incumbent Mark Pocan ran unopposed in 2018, but he has a Republican opponent this year. However, given that Pocan won 120,000 votes in his primary and the Republican challenger garnered only 19,000, Pocan seems like a sure bet.
First-term Colorado State Rep. Brianna Titone, running for reelection, says she has been targeted with anti-transgender attacks in Colorado.
This hour is both crucial and potentially crazy. Throwing Arkansas, which closes at 8:30 p.m., into the 9 o’clock mix, there are 15 states and 162 electoral votes to record. In 2016, 106 of these went to Trump, including 10 in Wisconsin, 16 in Michigan and 11 in Arizona. But this year, unlike any time in recent memory, Texas’ 38 is a down-to-the-wire horse race. Over the weekend, the last polls to come in showed first a tie, then Biden with a 1-point lead, then a three-point lead. Michigan looks to be leaning strongly for Biden; Arizona and Wisconsin look sloppy. Given that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is taking measures, backed by the state supreme court, to make as cumbersome as possible to return absentee ballots, the probable electoral vote count is Trump 238 to Biden 194.
Secretary of State candidate Bryce Bennett has won the endorsement of some key newspapers in the state, and while his opponent has tried to paint him as a raging “liberal,” the papers and many of his colleagues in the state Senate say he’s got the experience and the temperament for the job. If elected, he will become the first openly LGBTQ person just to win statewide office in Montana. Keep in mind, the latest poll in Montana has given Trump a 6-point lead in the presidential race
Four states and 21 electoral votes are up this hour. Nevada will break for Biden. Iowa’s polling results have been a bit erratic, but it will probably go with Montana and Utah for Trump, leaving the probable electoral vote count to Trump 253 and Biden 200.
- In California’s 41st Congressional District: Incumbent Mark Takano won more than 100,000 votes in his primary this year, compared to his Republican opponent’s 58,000. He has no impediments for a fifth term.
- In California’s 53rd Congressional District: The queer president of San Diego City Council, Georgette Gómez is hoping to win an open seat but she has been strongly outspent by another Democrat seeking the office.
- In Washington’s 10th Congressional District: State Rep. Beth Doglio is hoping to win a vacant seat representing the Tacoma area. She’s won some big-name endorsements like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. She’s up against former Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Stickland, another Democrat, and Strickland won the Seattle Times endorsement. There haven’t been many polls and the race is considered close, with Strickland in the lead.
Two openly LGBTQ people are running for statewide office: Marko Liias for lieutenant governor and Helen Whitener for the state supreme court. Whitener was appointed to the court vacancy in April and is running in a special election. She is the first Black woman on the court and the second openly LGBTQ person. She’s won endorsement from the Seattle Times and her opponent has dropped out, though they are not off the ballot. Liias has had a strong opponent who is also a Democrat and has more endorsements.
This is the bottom of the ninth, bases are loaded, there are two outs and Democrats are poised to grand slam 78 electoral votes to win the game. The five states in this hour are predictable: California with 55, Washington with 12, Oregon with seven and Hawaii with four. Idaho with four will deliver for Trump, and at 1 a.m., Alaska will toss in three. The probable final electoral vote count will be Trump, 260 to Biden 278. Game over. The only question is whether the Trump team will try to file a protest after the game.