Two LGBT candidates targets of possible hate crimes

This election cycle we've seen openly LGBT candidates running strong races in districts both red and blue -- underscoring that with the right message our incredible candidates can win anywhere.  

But challenges undoubtedly persist for LGBT candidates, and two incidents this week remind us of the continued need to support candidates with the courage to run and live openly. 

In Maine, state Senate candidate Justin Chenette received a hateful message written on one of his own campaign mailers: "We do NOT support sodomites!!"

Justin Chenette Mailer

And in Iowa, Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors candidate Chris Schwartz's home was vandalized. The perpetrators spray-painted an anti-gay slur on his campaign sign and a bible verse on his front door. 

Fortunately, community members are rallying in support of Justin and Chris, and are thanking them for representing our community and moving equality forward. We appreciate their efforts too. 

Florida may quintuple number of LGBT state representatives

Jennifer Webb, Victory Fund candidate running in Florida House District 69

Above: Jennifer Webb, Victory Fund candidate running in Florida House District 69

Florida is on the verge of making history with five openly LGBT legislative candidates running in this year’s general election. Currently, Florida only has one LGBT legislator – Rep. David Richardson – making the 2016 general election an unprecedented opportunity to dramatically increase LGBT representation.

Alongside Richardson – who is seeking re-election – the other state House candidates are:
Beth Tuura, House District 47
Carlos Guillermo Smith, House District 49
Jennifer Webb, House District 69
Ken Keechl, House District 93

If all five win, Florida will move from low LGBT representation to being on par with just six states that have five or more openly LGBT legislators: California, Colorado, Maine, Maryland, New York and Washington state. 

Victory Institute research demonstrates that more openly LGBT state legislators leads to less anti-LGBT bills and higher levels of equality overall. With Florida rated as a low equality state, adding more LGBT representatives in the state House could have a big impact on equality for LGBT Floridians.

7 reasons voters should fire John Bradford

North Carolina Rep. John Bradford loves disasters. He can’t seem to part ways with Donald Trump, and he sponsored and voted for HB2 – the discriminatory law that damaged the economy and tarnished the reputation of North Carolina.

Here’s a quick round-up of why Bradford is unqualified to lead North Carolina’s District 98: 

1. He said discrimination is "common sense."

Bradford says HB2 was “common sense” and “not discriminatory,” despite it literally banning discrimination protections for LGBT people statewide. (source)

2. He thinks Trump is "refreshing."

Bradford refuses to denounce Trump and praised him as “refreshing.” Bradford said of Trump: “You can’t but help pull for someone like him.” (source)

3. He thinks sexual assault is bad, but not bad enough.

Bradford says he voted for HB2 to protect women, yet refuses to disavow Trump even after his comments bragging about sexually assaulting women. (source)

4. He wanted to divert money from disaster relief to pay for discrimination.

Bradford voted to strip $500,000 from the state’s Emergency Response and Disaster Relief Fund to cover legal fees from his disastrous HB2. This despite dire warnings about a significantly active hurricane season. (source)

5. He thinks companies aren't bothered by discriminatory laws.

After drafting, sponsoring, and voting for HB2, Bradford said it would “not affect companies…North Carolina was one of the top states to do business in the country before this law was passed, and [this bill] won’t change that.” Estimates show the bill has cost $500 million in revenue and hundreds of jobs. (source)

6. He believes apologies are for others to give.

In a bizarre 5-minute video rant, Bradford criticizes Colin Kaepernick’s decision not to stand for the national anthem, and says: “It is never too late to admit you made a mistake.” Yet Bradford refuses to admit HB2 was a mistake, despite it tarnishing North Carolina’s reputation domestically and around the world. (source)

7. Because Bradford's scaremongering should never become law.

“I do not support an open policy allowing men to use public restrooms, locker rooms and showers that are intended for use by women.” (source)

John Bradford is running against Victory Fund candidate Jane Campbell, who will be the only LGBT person in the state legislature when elected in November. 

The Charlotte Observer endorses Jane Campbell

North Carolina’s largest newspaper has endorsed Victory Fund candidate Jane Campbell for North Carolina State House in District 98.

The Charlotte Observer wrote in their endorsement:

“We prefer Campbell, a Davidson graduate who is unaffiliated but backed by Democrats. She helped supervise multimillion-dollar military departments in the Navy, honing leadership and consensus-building skills. She would bring a much-needed new LGBT voice to the General Assembly.”

Jane’s opponent John Bradford helped draft, sponsored and voted for the disastrous HB2 and refuses to denounce Trump. His support for the discriminatory legislation inspired Jane to run.

If elected, Jane would be the only openly LGBT state representative in North Carolina.

Support Jane with a direct contribution >>


Angie Craig ahead of Jason 'Mini Trump' Lewis in recent poll

The most recent polling in Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District race shows Victory-endorsed candidate Angie Craig ahead of opponent Jason “Mini-Trump” Lewis by five points. It's exciting news, with just 19 days until the election.

The KTSP-TV and SurveyUSA poll also shows Angie holds a five point lead over Lewis on the economy, which voters identified as the most important issue this election cycle. And she is leading among moderates and independents, further indication her message is resonating in the Republican-leaning district. 

While Angie runs an issue-focused campaign, Lewis' scorched-earth approach has led several media outlets to dub him "Mini-Trump." He has called young women “non-thinking,” saying they only care about abortion and gay marriage, suggested immigrants are destroying white culture, and implied that slavery might not only be legal, but would be just fine with him. We've compiled some of his most offensive comments here.

If elected, Angie would be the first openly LGBT member of Congress from Minnesota and only the third LGBT woman in Congressional history.

Support Angie by making a direct donation to her campaign >>


Progressive outlets endorse Tina Podlodowkski

Local editorial boards continue to be excited by Victory Fund candidate for Washington Secretary of State, Tina Podlodowski.

The Stranger wrote in their latest endorsement:

“The Secretary of State's primary job is to oversee elections, and Podlodowski, a former Seattle City Council member, says she would fight for postage-free ballots, same-day registration, and work to make sure the voices of people of color are heard through the electoral process.” 

Kim Wyman continues to struggle with an official complaint from the State Attorney General that her campaign violated state campaign-finance laws.

Seattlish summarized Kim Wyman as “a wet noodle at best and a conservative hammer at worst” and supported Tina to bring change to the office of Secretary of State.

Support Tina’s campaign with a direct contribution >>

Sun Sentinel endorses Ken Keechl for Florida House

The Sun Sentinel’s editorial board announced its endorsement Ken Keechl for Florida House District 93.

The endorsement highlights his strong support for improving the county’s largest medical service provider, Broward Health, and his support to address climate change and rising sea levels.

In their endorsement, the Sun Sentinel states, “It's going to take leadership to get the region prepared” and they agree Ken is best suited to represent District 93 in the Florida House.

Additionally, the editors emphasized Ken’s stances on promoting public schools and enacting common sense gun legislation.

Ken’s opponent, George Moraitis, refuses to denounce presidential candidate Donald Trump and has a “lack of backbone” and continues to put “politics over principle,” according to the endorsement.

Currently Florida only has one openly LGBT legislator and Ken is one of five LGBT legislative candidates endorsed by Victory Fund.

Support Ken Keechl with a direct contribution to his campaign >>

Governor Brown earns key endorsements

Kate Brown

Oregon Governor Kate Brown earned four strong editorial endorsements this week, highlighting her statehouse experience and positions on key issues – including women’s rights and the environment. Brown’s record of accomplishment is finally getting the attention and kudos it deserves. Meanwhile her opponent, Bud Pierce, continues his slide in the polls.

A few weeks ago during a televised debate, Pierce suggested that only poor and uneducated women could be victims of domestic violence because “a woman that has great education and great training and a great job is just not susceptible.” The backlash to his controversial and ignorant comments has severely damaged his candidacy and the latest polling has him down 13 points.

In their endorsement, the Statesman Journal writes:

“Brown has shown that she can learn on the job: to focus her priorities instead of trying to do everything, and to recruit legislative champions to promote her ideas in the Legislature. Her personable nature is a tremendous asset. People — including her political opponents — like her, regardless of whether they agree with her.”

Additional endorsements for Gov. Brown come from The Oregonian, Williamette Week and The Daily Astorian.

If elected, Kate Brown would be the first openly LGBT person elected governor. 

Tommy Greene Ahead of Opponent by One Point

Victory-endorsed candidate Tommy Greene has seen a surge in support in the past two months, and is now one point ahead of his opponent David Greenspan, according to internal polls. The poll shows the Ohio state legislative candidate is capturing 43 percent of the vote, compared to his opponent’s 42 percent, despite a barrage of television and mail attacks against Tommy in recent weeks.

The seven point gain since the August poll is a result of Tommy’s massive outreach efforts to voters across the District. His message is clearly resonating – including his pledge to support equal pay for women, oppose education cuts and protect the local environment. And the new poll comes just days after Tommy was upgraded to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee’s list of Essential Races – indicating the significance of his race to the Democratic Party’s efforts to win back key legislative seats.

Tommy needs to get his message out to as many voters as possible in the next three weeks. Contribute to Tommy’s campaign today, so we can secure another LGBT voice in the Ohio legislature come November. 

Six Victory Fund candidates upgraded to DLCC Essential Races

Today, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee in coordination with Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund announced six Victory Fund-endorsed candidacies were upgraded to DLCC 2016 Essential Races. The joint endorsement highlights the critical importance of these six races in key legislative chamber battlegrounds and in furthering equality everywhere.

The six Victory Fund-endorsed candidates added to the DLCC 2106 Essential Races include: Jane Campbell, North Carolina House District 98; Tommy Greene, Ohio House District 16; Daniel Hernandez, Arizona House District 2; Stephen Skinner, West Virginia Senate District 16; Beth Tuura, Florida House District 47; and Jennifer Webb, Florida House District 69.

Read the full release here.

Learn more about Victory Fund’s 2016 Spotlight Races.



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