52 LGBTQ candidates ran for office in Texas in the March primaries. And now, 30 LGBTQ candidates are still standing with a chance to win important races up and down the ballot in the November general election in what could become a historic election for the LGBTQ community and its supporters.
Gina Ortiz Jones, a former army veteran and the Democratic nominee for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District, is in a tight race in the San Antonio area and may be headed for the history books. If elected, Jones will be the first out Latina lesbian to represent Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Jones is just one of a record-breaking number of LGBTQ-identifying Texans seeking office this election cycle. Lori Burch, Democratic nominee for Texas 3rd Congressional District in Plano, and Eric Holguin, Democratic nominee for the 27th Congressional District in Corpus Christi, are also hoping to gain seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Lupe Valdez already made history by becoming the first Latina and openly gay nominee for Texas Governor. She faces incumbent Governor Greg Abbott in November. Kerry McKennon of St. Petersburg is running for Lt. Governor as a Libertarian.
In the Texas State Senate, former Equality Texas Board Member and plaintiff in the Texas marriage case Mark Phariss hopes to become the first openly gay member of the Texas State Senate in Senate District 8 in Plano. David Romero hopes to accomplish the same in Senate District 7 in Houston.
In the Texas House, State Representative Mary Gonzalez, District 75, who represents the El Paso area is the first openly pansexual elected official in the U.S. She and State Rep. Celia Israel of District 50 in Austin, are both unopposed in November. Joining them will be Representative-Elect Jessica Gonzalez in Dallas’ District 104, who is also unopposed in November.
Other LGBTQ candidates running for the Texas House include: Armando Gamboa, Texas House 81, Odessa; Sam Hatton, Texas House 117 Abilene; Julie Johnson, Texas House 115, Carrollton; Finnigan Jones, Texas House 91, Arlington; Stephanie Phillips, Texas House 73, Canyon Lake; and Erin Zwiener, Texas House 45, Driftwood.
Candidates are also running for judicial and local elected positions across the state. LGBTQ candidates running for various offices include: Judge Steven Kirkland for the Texas Supreme Court Place 2; Dr. Eliz Markowitz for the State Board of Education District 7; Judge Charles Spain for the 14th Court of Appeals in Houston; Beau Miller for the 190th Civil District Court in Houston; Judge Tonya Parker for reelection to the 116th Civil District Court in Dallas; Danielle Skidmore, Bobby Levnski, Jessica Cohen and Justin Jacobson for the Austin City Council; Eric Stoltz for the El Paso City Council; Jim Kovach for Harris County Civil Court #2, Houston; Shannon Baldwin for Harris County Criminal Court #4, Houston; Judge Jerry Simoneaux for Harris County Probate Court #1; Jason Cox for Harris County Probate Court #3; Rosie Gonzalez for Bexar County Court at Law #13, San Antonio; and Judge Sara Martinez for reelection to Dallas County Justice of the Peace Precinct 5 Place 1.
Equality Texas celebrates these candidates who are running for office to make a difference in the lives of LGBTQ Texans. We have a historic opportunity to create a state that reflects our values and priorities. We must come together and fight for the state we want. Now is the time to act with our votes. It is our civil right and our civic duty. We cannot sit this out this election. It is our time to lead. That’s why it is critically important that every member of the LGBTQ community and its supporters show up to vote in the November 6, General Election.
For more information:
Equality Texas’ Queer the Vote Y’all program