Jim Gray says anti-LGBT company should "adapt to the times"

Jim Gray

While attending a Kentucky Farm Bureau annual breakfast this morning, Victory-endorsed US Senate candidate Jim Gray told reporters the insurance company should "adapt to the times" and change its long-held anti-LGBT policies. The company opposes marriage equality and benefits for same-sex partners, and its president says he will “not apologize” for the “principles… which have served our nation [and company] very well for a long time.”

While many attendees – including Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin – defended the company's positions and joked at the expense of pro-LGBT protestors, Jim said he shared the protestor’s concerns and attended the event “to engage those who have different points of view in order to find common ground and shared values.”

Jim’s willingness to speak openly about LGBT equality while connecting with voters who disagree exemplifies his courage and leadership. Two qualities which voters, incidentally, find lacking in his opponent Rand Paul. 

Voter registration efforts give Matt Heinz advantage in District 2

Following months of voter outreach efforts in Arizona, new registration numbers released by the secretary of state are great news for Victory candidate Matt Heinz.

In District 2, which includes parts of Pima and Cochise Counties, Democrats have added thousands of new voters. The district is one of the country’s most competitive: Republican Rep. Martha McSally won the seat in 2014 by only 167 votes.

Democrats have added more party-affiliated voters than Republicans. In Pima County, Democratic registration went up by 7 percent while Republican registration went up only 3 percent. 

The 2016 cycle is expected to be just as competitive, and the new registration totals are good news for Victory candidate Dr. Matt Heinz.

The good news follows a number of recent developments in Heinz’s favor. Last month the Congressional political arm of the Democratic Party added Heinz’s race as an “Emerging Race” in its Red to Blue program, allowing the party to devote resources and money to the district. Ahead of next week’s primary, Heinz picked up the endorsement of the state’s largest newspaper, The Arizona Republic. And presidential race polling numbers in the state led the Clinton campaign to deploy field organizers in the state who will boost down-ballot Democrats.

Meanwhile, Heinz has repeatedly called out his opponent for her refusal to denounce presidential candidate Donald Trump. While she’s distanced herself from the controversial candidate, Martha McSally has said she might still vote for him.

The primary takes place next Tuesday, August 30.

Support Matt Heinz with a direct contribution. >>

Kentucky Democratic Party Funding is Good News for Jim Gray

Jim Gray

Victory-endorsed US Senatorial candidate Jim Gray is making headlines across the nation for his increasingly promising effort to unseat Senator Rand Paul in Kentucky. Polls show voters souring on Rand Paul prioritizing a presidential run over the needs of Kentuckians, and Jim’s positive message and concern for real issues is resonating with residents.

And there is more good news. In the last month, the Hillary Victory Fund transferred $793,000 to the Kentucky Democratic Party, according to a McClatchy DC report. This funding influx will help Jim’s message reach more Kentuckians, as he makes a strong case to voters about the substantive change he’ll bring to Washington.  

More from McClatchy DC:

According to Federal Election Commission filings, the Hillary Victory Fund made separate transfers of $600,000 and $193,000 to the Kentucky State Democratic Central Executive Committee in July.

Those contributions accounted for the bulk of the $913,000 the committee raised last month and made July the state party’s best single month for fundraising since November 2015, when Democrats lost the governor’s mansion.

Equality Florida Action PAC announces support for Victory-endorsed candidates

Equality Florida Action PAC announced endorsements for 22 candidates in the state yesterday, including Victory-endorsed state legislative candidates Ken Keechl, Michael Góngora and David Richardson. The endorsements come during a historic year for LGBT Floridians. Never before have so many viable, LGBT candidates run for office in the state, which the Movement Advancement Project labels a “low-equality” state for LGBT people. The potential increase in LGBT representation at both the local and state levels provides an exciting opportunity to move equality forward for LGBT Floridians.

Previously, Equality Florida Action PAC endorsed Victory-endorsed candidates Beth Tuura, Carlos Guillermo Smith, Jennifer Webb and Alan Clendenin. The organization endorses candidates that are “champions of LGBT equality” and “running a strong and competitive campaign.” Unlike Victory Fund, Equality Florida Action PAC does not require candidates identify as LGBT.

A complete list of Equality Florida Action PAC endorsements can be found on their website.

Denise Juneau's Opponent Willing to Politicize & Sell Public Lands

Denise Juneau

Victory-endorsed candidate Denise Juneau grew up in rural Montana and can trace her family’s roots back to before it was even a state. She knows Montanans, and her long ties to the people and the land make both a priority in her race to become the sole Congressional representative from the state. Her desire to look after the interests of the average Montanan – and not the elite political class – is drawing a stark contrast between her and incumbent Ryan Zinke, who is willing to politicize and unnecessarily sell the public lands cherished by Montanans.

Whereas Denise vows to fiercely defend public lands and as a member of Montana’s Land Board voted to open up 40,000 acres to public access, Rep. Zinke has voted to transfer management of state land to politically-appointed boards that do not have the best interests of Montanans at heart. In Congress Zinke supported a budget to sell-off state land in order to pay down the national debt, and in 2012 signed the Montana Constitutional Governance Pledge, which aimed to privatize long-held public lands.

Denise is entirely opposed to the sale or transfer of Montana’s public lands, and recognizes those lands are responsible for a significant portion of the state’s $6 billion per year recreation economy, which employs more than 60,000 people. Her opponent ignores this reality, and is more concerned with his popularity among DC colleagues than in supporting the workers and economy of Montana.

Denise is emblematic of why representation matters. She is a long-time Montanan who understands the concerns of average residents because she is one of them. If elected, she would also become the first Native American woman in Congress and first openly LGBT member from Montana, and she would be a fierce advocate for equality. When communities are represented, it changes the conversation. Denise's advocacy on behalf of average Montanans, Native Americans and the LGBT community is desperately needed in Washington. 

Tina Podlodowski Promotes Voting Rights in Second Debate

Tina Podlodowski and her opponent Kim Wyman debated for a second time in Spokane, Washington on August 17. Over the course of an hour, both candidates touted their resumes and the direction they want to take elections as Washington’s Secretary of State.

Tina Podlodowski made clear she is the candidate that will expand voting rights and ensure all eligible people are able to vote. Podlodowski noted that under Kim Wyman’s supervision, elections in Washington have seen dismal voter turnout, contrary to the promises Wyman made when she first ran for office. In order to increase election participation, Victory-endorsed Podlodowski said her plan that includes auditing the election system and expanding the state’s voter registration.

She explained, “I don’t think we have to accept poor performance when it comes to turnout.”

Tina Podlodowski is one of Victory’s Spotlight Candidates running in Washington. If elected, she would be the nation’s first LGBT Secretary of State.

Beth Tuura responds to opponent's gun incident

This week it was revealed that Victory Spotlight Candidate Beth Tuura's primary opponent was charged with entering a federal building with a loaded handgun without the safety on. 

In a statement, Tuura's campaign responded by calling out Lim's recklessness and questioning his ability to stand up to the gun lobby: 

Henry Lim broke federal law and put real lives at risk when he carried a loaded weapon into a federal building. His carelessness and poor judgment demonstrates he is not the leader we need to prevent gun violence and confront Rick Scott and the NRA. On June 12, 49 members of our community lost their lives at Pulse nightclub because of our state’s failure to adopt common-sense gun violence prevention measures. Our community needs a leader in Tallahassee with the judgment and passion to take on the entrenched gun lobby to achieve common sense reforms. I will be that leader.

As a lesbian woman running to represent the district where the Pulse massacre took place, these 49 victims and their families affect me deeply. They are my motivation to secure universal background checks, prevent violent offenders from obtaining firearms, and ban military-style assault rifles. Lim’s illegal and reckless behavior demonstrates he is unable to follow the lax gun laws already in place, and that he cannot be trusted to advance the Democratic values my campaign is fighting for every day in Florida.

Read more from Florida Politics

Tuura is running to represent District 47 in the Florida House. She has made gun violence prevention and LGBT rights a central part of her campaign. 

Learn more about Beth Tuura >>

LGBT candidates take center stage in Florida elections

Above: Openly gay Florida state legislator Rep. David Richardson.

Considering Florida currently has only one openly LGBT person serving in the legislature, it is remarkable that 12 out LGBT candidates are running for office this year in the sunshine state. Given the state is rated “low equality” by the Movement Advancement Project, it is clear each candidate knows well the challenges that face LGBT people in Florida and throughout the country.

The record number of LGBT people running makes it a historic opportunity to change the status quo in Florida, because representation matters. Victory research shows states with more openly LGBT lawmakers have higher levels of equality, and that LGBT lawmakers heavily influence the votes of their straight lawmaker colleagues.

“Very rarely in what we call ‘low-equality states’ do you have so many qualified, viable LGBT candidates running for office,” said Victory Fund’s Director of Communications Elliot Imse in a Florida Politics article. “That’s a really important opportunity for the LGBT coalition because representation matters.”

Victory-endorsed candidates in Florida include Bob Poe for Congress and Beth Tuura, David Richardson, Ken Keechl, and Carlos Guillermo Smith running for seats in the state legislature. All of their primaries are slated for August 30th.

Angie Craig’s Opponent Nicknamed ‘Mini-Trump’ in The Atlantic

The impact of Minnesota Republicans nominating radio shock-jock Jason Lewis for Congress against Democrat Angie Craig has been swift and severe. Just a day after his nomination, the Cook Political Report upgraded the race from ‘toss-up’ to ‘leans Democratic.' And now, an Atlantic article highlighting Lewis’ history of racist and misogynistic remarks is aptly titled, “Meet Minnesota’s ‘Mini-Trump’”.

However the quotes cited in the article might even make the Republican presidential nominee blush. On Lewis’ radio show, of which Rush Limbaugh was a frequent guest, Lewis made inflammatory statements about several communities he is now trying to represent. He called young women “ignorant […] in the most general way” and Katrina victims “a bunch of whiners down there.” In an update to his 2011 book, Lewis compared the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of marriage equality to slavery.

As the article in The Atlantic stressed, Lewis has built up his name in order to run for this seat through “racist, misogynistic, and generally from-the-fringe rants.”

That's one of the many reasons we are proud to endorse Angie Craig. 

Angie Craig is one of Victory’s 2016 Spotlight candidates running for congress. The election for Minnesota’s District 2 seat will take place November 8th. If elected, Craig will be the only current lesbian serving in the House and Minnesota’s first elected LGBT congresswoman.

Support the Craig campaign with a direct contribution >>

Historic number of LGBT candidates run for Florida state legislature

Above: Beth Tuura, who is running for Florida House District 47.

A record setting eight LGBT candidates are running for seats in Florida’s state legislature in 2016. Currently, Victory-endorsed Rep. David Richardson is the only out state lawmaker, but he believes that number is about to grow.

"We're at a place and time where people are truly being evaluated based on their qualifications and not some of these other demographics," he told the Sun Sentinel.

The large number of LGBT candidates – and potentially LGBT lawmakers come November – is especially exciting given Florida is rated a low equality state for LGBT people by the Movement Advancement Project. Additional LGBT lawmakers may have a significant impact on the state, given Victory research shows higher numbers of LGBT lawmakers lead to more legal protections for the LGBT community in those states.

Additionally, the Victory-endorsed state legislative candidates in Florida are much more than simply LGBT leaders – they are exciting candidates with powerful platforms, and have taken a significant interest in gun violence prevention in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting. Beth Tuura in District 47 hopes to advance out of her August primary to take on Republican incumbent Mike Miller in the general election, and has pledged to make gun safety her priority issue. In the Orlando area, Carlos Guillermo Smith in District 49 faces no opposition in his primary and no Republican opponent in the general, and is outspoken on the need to end gun violence post-Pulse. And Ken Keechl is running hard as a Democrat in the toss-up District 93 in Fort Lauderdale.

"The more gays and lesbians that are involved on the floor of the House, the more the other side is going to see that we're not different than anybody else,” said Ken Keechl in the Sun-Sentinel article. With wins in the August 30 primary and again in November, these candidates can change the status quo in Florida.

Victory's legislative and federal candidates in Florida are: 

Bob Poe, U.S. House, District 10
Beth Tuura, State House, District 47
Carlos Guillermo Smith, State House, District 49
David Richardson (incumbent), State House, District 113
Ken Keechl, State House, District 93

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