LGBT congressional candidates come up short

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Non-incumbent LGBT candidates include (top l – r) Angie Craig, Bao Nguyen, Paul Babeu, Misty Snow, Dr. Matt Heinz; (bottom row l – r) Clay Cope, Denise Juneau, Matt Heinz, Jim Gray and Misty Plowright (Photos courtesy campaigns; Plowright photo by Michael Herrera)

BY CHRIS JOHNSON  |  Non-incumbent openly LGBT candidates seeking election to Congress came up short on Tuesday, failing across the board in their bids for seats regardless of party in an election day favorable to Donald Trump and Republicans.

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The LGBT candidate seen to have the greatest chance of winning was lesbian Democratic candidate Angie Craig, a business executive seeking election to Minnesota’s 2nd congressional district, but she lost to Republican Jason Lewis by margin of 47 percent to 45 percent.

Angie was among the candidates endorsed by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, which only supports candidate that have a reasonable chance of winning office. Other non-incumbent candidates the organization supported for U.S. House seats — Brady Walkinshaw, Matt Heinz, Denise Juneau, Bao Nguyen — also came up short.

In Washington State’s 7th congressional district, Walkinshaw, a member of the Washington State House, lost to fellow Democrat and State Sen. Pramila Jayapal, who’ll become the first South Asian woman elected to Congress. Jayapal captured 57 percent compared to Walkinshaw’s 43 percent.

In Arizona’s 2nd congressional district, Heinz, a physician, lost to incumbent Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) by a margin of 57 percent to 43 percent. In the race for the at-large seat in Montana, Juneau lost to incumbent Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) by a margin of 57 percent to 40 percent. In California’s 46th congressional district, Nguyen lost to fellow Democrat former State Sen. Lou Correa by a margin of 70 percent to 30 percent.

Also endorsed by the Victory Fund was gay Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, who came up short in his bid to oust U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Gray lost the race by a margin of 57 percent to 43 percent.
The two openly transgender congressional candidates — Misty Snow, who was running for a U.S. Senate seat in Utah, and Misty Plowright, who was running in Colorado’s 5th congressional district — also came up short in their bids for Congress.

Belonging to the Republican Party didn’t help openly gay congressional candidates seeking office. In Arizona’s 1st congressional district, gay Republican and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu lost to Tom O’Halleran, by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent. In Connecticut’s 5th congressional district, gay Republican Clay Cope lost to incumbent Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.) in the Democratic district by a margin of 57 percent to 43 percent.

One bright spot is that each of the incumbent openly LGB member of Congress — Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) — all won re-election in their respective districts.

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