Above: Victory-endorsed candidate Beth Tuura, who won her primary this evening.
Tonight, Victory Fund President & CEO Aisha C. Moodie-Mills released the following statement in response to the historic victories of LGBT candidates in the Florida primary:
“Just a few months after a mass shooting targeted our community in Florida, LGBT leaders achieved a string of historic primary victories offering hope that meaningful change is on its way,” said Victory Fund President & CEO Aisha C. Moodie-Mills. “At least five openly LGBT candidates won their primaries for state representative, a promising and concrete step toward equality. Electing all five would quintuple the number of openly LGBT representatives in the Florida state legislature, putting Florida on par with just six other states who have five or more openly LGBT representatives.
“Florida’s LGBT candidates represent an exciting and historic opportunity to advance LGBT representation in one of the most populous and electorally consequential states in the nation. Victory is directing considerable attention and support to our Florida candidates in the coming months, so we can build long-term LGBT political power and a deep bench of political talent that can win not only this election or these offices, but the next election for the next statehouse, Congressional or Senate race.”
The following Victory-endorsed candidates won their primaries in Florida, according to media reports:
Carlos Guillermo Smith (Florida House of Representatives, District 49)
Ken Keechl (Florida House of Representatives, District 93)
David Richardson (Florida House of Representatives, District 113)
Beth Tuura (Florida House of Representatives, District 47)
Jennifer Webb (Florida House of Representatives, District 69)
Lea Krauss (Broward County Circuit Court)
Steve Smith (Florida Keys Mosquito Control Commission, District 3)
In their first debate, Denise Juneau spared no criticism in opponent Ryan Zinke’s support for presidential candidate Donald Trump.
"I sometimes wonder if he's (Zinke) representing Montana or making sure he's on a 24-hour news cycle and out stumping for Donald Trump, and missing critical votes," Juneau said. "I can tell you what he's not done. He’s not supported Indian Country."
— AmerIndians4Juneau (@AI4DeniseJuneau) August 30, 2016
The freshman congressman has publicly thrown his hat into the ring for a position in a Trump administration, saying he would be, “honored to the duty in whatever capacity that is…I would be honored to be a part of the cabinet. I would be honored to be vice president.”
If elected, Denise would be the first Native American woman in Congress and the first openly LGBT member from Montana.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory is using transphobia as a weapon in his increasingly desperate attempt to hold onto the governor’s mansion. In a disgusting and bigoted ad, McCrory implies transgender people are likely to commit sexual assault if allowed to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity and expression.
In the ad, a woman who identifies as a sexual assault survivor says she was “horrified” that “President Obama and Roy Cooper [who is running against McCrory] want to force school children to share the same locker room, shower, and restroom with somebody who claims [to be] the opposite sex.” The fear-mongering ad does not reference the nationally criticized anti-trans HB2 law in North Carolina, which was signed by McCrory and proved a disaster for the state’s economy.
HB2 passed the North Carolina state legislature when no openly LGBT lawmakers were serving in the body. Victory Fund research shows anti-LGBT legislation is much less likely to be introduced when there are openly LGBT state lawmakers.
Fortunately, openly lesbian former Navy captain and Victory-endorsed candidate Jane Campbell is running a strong campaign in North Carolina, and has made repealing HB2 and securing voting rights two of her main priorities. If North Carolinians elect Jane in November, they will have a strong voice for LGBT equality in the state legislature.
Tomorrow primary voters in Florida and Arizona have an opportunity to move equality forward in their states by voting for exciting, viable Victory-endorsed LGBT candidates. Two Congressional candidates, one from each state, are running impressive campaigns that have captured the excitement of voters. And Florida has an unprecedented and surprising number of viable openly LGBT candidates running this election cycle, given the state is still rated a low-equality state by the Movement Advancement Project. If elected, these Florida candidates can make a significant impact on LGBT equality in the state.
If you are a Florida or Arizona resident, be sure to vote tomorrow! If you have friends and family who are LGBT or allies in those states, be sure to share these names and encourage them to vote tomorrow. The turnout is likely to be extremely low – and winners determined by just a few hundred votes – so your efforts and vote matters!
Matt Heinz (District 2)
Kyrsten Sinema (District 9)
Arizona House of Representatives
Daniel Hernandez (District 2)
Steve Gallardo (Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, District 5)
Bob Poe (District 10)
Michael Góngora (District 38)
Florida House of Representatives
Carlos Guillermo Smith (District 49)
Ken Keechl (District 93)
David Richardson (District 113)
Beth Tuura (District 47)
Jennifer Webb (District 69)
Kevin Beckner (Hillsborough Clerk of the Circuit Court)
Alan Clendenin (Hillsborough County School Board, District 7)
Lea Krauss (Broward County Circuit Court)
Steve Smith (Florida Keys Mosquito Control Commission, District 3)
Above: Denise Juneau's anti-LGBT opponent Ryan Zinke.
“A couple weeks ago, my good friend, Congressman Trey Gowdy visited Montana,” began US Rep. Ryan Zinke in his op-ed for the Glasgow Courier.
Reading the first sentence was enough for us.
Trey Gowdy is among the most notorious anti-LGBT members of Congress, having compared marriage equality to polygamy and incest, and opposing basic non-discrimination protects for LGBT people. That he is “good friends” with Zinke isn’t surprising – given Zinke voted to allow government contractors to discriminate against LGBT workers – but it provides a stark choice for Montanans when they enter the voting booth in November.
While Zinke and his hate-mongering birds of a feather use their power to attack LGBT people, Zinke’s opponent in the race, Victory-endorsed candidate Denise Juneau, has dedicated her life to serving all Montanans. As head of Montana’s public schools, she increased graduation rates to the highest level in state history, improving the lives of young people and boosting Montana’s economy. And as an openly lesbian woman she has vowed to serve all Montanans – and to forgo the nasty politics of division.
We need Denise’s voice in Congress come November.
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.
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 expected to boost Victory candidate Dr. Matt Heinz.
The announcement 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.
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 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.
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.