1990s

1998

Share This Year
View All Decades

Tammy Baldwin Elected to Congress

Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin
Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin

Trailblazing Wisconsin Assemblywoman Tammy Baldwin won her 1998 election to represent the Madison-area 2nd District in Congress, making history on multiple fronts. The 1998 election victory made Baldwin the first woman to represent Wisconsin in Congress as well as the first non-incumbent LGBTQ candidate elected to Congress. She was the first out lesbian to ever serve in in the U.S. House, and later – following her 2012 U.S. Senate election – the first LGBTQ official to serve in both chambers of Congress. 

Baldwin was one of four lesbians running for Congress in 1998 who received Victory Fund’s support, and the only successful candidate of the group. Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer, a high-profile activist for gay rights in the military, ran in Washington’s 2nd Congressional District. California Assemblymember Christine Kehoe challenged Rep. Brian Bilbray in California’s 49th District. Victory Fund also endorsed former state Rep. Susan Tracy, who ran for Congress in Massachusetts’ 8th District but didn’t advance in the primary.


Jackie Biskupski Becomes Utah’s First Out Elected Official

Rep. Jackie Biskupski

An anti-LGBTQ law targeting gay/straight alliances in Utah’s public schools is what initially motivated Jackie Biskupski, a law enforcement professional, to run for the state House. As a Democrat running in a favorable suburban district, Biskupski didn’t have a hard time competing for the seat. But that didn’t stop the Utah Eagle Forum from sending a mailer to 6,000 residents warning them of the dangers of her homosexual agenda. The mailer backfired and was almost universally condemned, including by Republicans and Biskupski’s GOP opponent. Ultimately, Biskupski won the seat by a 2-1 margin, becoming the first out LGBTQ candidate elected in Utah history. 

Biskupski served seven terms in the Utah House before retiring in 2011. Victory Fund supported Biskupski in several of her elections, including her successful 2015 bid for mayor of Salt Lake City.

Arizona Elects Country’s First Out Republican State Legislator

Rep. Steve May. Courtesy of Edgar B. Anderson
Rep. Steve May. Courtesy of Edgar B. Anderson
Steve May


Victory Fund executive director William Waybourn and other co-founders organized the Campaign for Military Service in early 1993 to press for lifting the ban on gay people serving openly. After President Clinton signed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), Victory Fund supported the new Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, founded by Michelle Benecke and C. Dixon Osborn. The cruel absurdity of DADT was underscored in the military’s pursuit of gay Republican Arizona State Rep. Steve May, a Mormon and an Army veteran, who was elected in 1998 with Victory Fund support to become the first openly gay GOP state legislator in the country. He was serving in the House when he was called back to the Army Reserves as a first lieutenant during the crisis in Kosovo. When he mentioned “gay dollars” during a legislative funding debate, the military launched an investigation into May for violating DADT. May balked and talked forcefully about the importance of an open military, and the Army eventually dropped its pursuit. He finished his tour of duty in April 2001. 

“One day our armed forces will hold all of our troops strictly and equally to the same high standards of conduct—instead of arbitrarily discriminating against exemplary officers like Steve May,” Victory Fund executive director Brian K. Bond said in a 1999 press release. “It is sad that, while the people of Rep. May’s district are willing to treat him based on his job-related merits, the military is not. Voters value honesty—it’s a shame that, at least with respect to our gay soldiers, the military doesn’t. One day the military’s misguided policy of mandatory discrimination will end.”

David Catania Wins Full Term on DC Council

David Catania at a Capital Pride celebration
David Catania at a Capital Pride celebration

First elected in a special election to the D.C. Council in 1997, David Catania won his first full term on the council in 1998 with the support of Victory Fund. A Republican until 2004, Catania acted as a leading voice on equality, accessible healthcare, and safety. He’s credited as a major force in the effort to ensure marriage equality for same-sex couples in the District, which passed in 2009 in a 13-1 vote by the council. 

Fred Hochberg Appointed SBA Deputy Administrator

Marylouise Oates, Sen. John Kerry, Leo Hindery, Jr., and Fred Hochberg at Victory Fund’s 2002 Oates/Shrum Leadership Awards celebration.
Marylouise Oates, Sen. John Kerry, Leo Hindery, Jr., and Fred Hochberg at Victory Fund’s 2002 Oates/Shrum Leadership Awards celebration.

President Bill Clinton appointed gay business leader Fred Hochberg to be Deputy Administrator of the Small Business Administration and the U.S. Senate confirmed his nomination in 1998, making him one of the highest-ranking out leaders to ever serve in a major role in the executive branch. A Democratic activist and donor, Hochberg was later appointed to lead the Export-Import Bank by President Obama, breaking another barrier for LGBTQ leadership on the global stage. 

LGBTQ Victory Fund Endorsed Candidates in 1998

LGBTQ Victory Fund endorsed 54 candidates in 1998.

Wins:

Tom Ammiano (D), San Francisco Board of Supervisors, California

Tammy Baldwin (D), U.S. House of Representatives, Wisconsin

Jarrett Barrios (D), State House, Massachusetts

Scott Bernstein (D), Dade Superior Court, Florida

David Catania (R), Washington City Council, DC

Ken Cheuvront (D), State House, Arizona

Karen Clark (D), State House, Minnesota

Kevin Dowling (D), Hayward City Council, California

Tom Duane (D), State Senate, New York

Bonnie Dumanis (R), San Diego Superior Court, California

Ed Flanagan (D), Vermont State Auditor, Vermont

Neil Giuliano (R), Tempe Mayor, Arizona

Jim Graham (D), Washington City Council, DC

Ken Hahn (D), Los Angeles County Assessor, California

Jim Kolbe (R), Arizona-05 Congress, Arizona

Sheila Kuehl (D), State Assembly, California

Mark Leno (D), San Francisco Board of Supervisors, California

Liz Malia (D), State House, Massachusetts

Liz Malia-sp (D), State House, Massachusetts

Evelyn Mantilla (D), State House, Connecticut

Steve May (R), State House, Arizona

Larry McKeon (D), State House, Illinois

Carole Migden (D), State Assembly, California

David Parks (D), State House, Nevada

Mike Pisaturo (D), State House, Rhode Island

Mark Pocan (D), State Assembly, Wisconsin

Michael Quint (D), State House, Maine

Gary Resnick (D), Wilton Manors City Council, Florida

Victoria Sigler (D), Dade County Court, Florida


Losses:

Margarethe Cammermeyer (D), U.S. House of Representatives, Washington

Chuck Carpenter (R), State House, Oregon

David Cruise (D), Cumberland Mayor, Rhode Island

Faye D'Opal (D), Marin County Court, California

Mike Duffy (R), Massachusetts State Auditor, Massachusetts

George Eighmey (D), Multnomah County Board, Oregon

Steve Howard (D), State Senate, Vermont

Christine Kehoe (D), U.S. House of Representatives, California

DeWayne Kemp (D), Monroe County Board, Florida

Peter Kreysa (D), Los Angeles City Water District, California

Danny O'Donnell (D), State Senate, New York

Jeff Reid (R), Orange County Assessor, California

Gerrie Schipske (D), Long Beach City Prosecutor, California

Ed Sedarbaum (D), U.S. Senate, New York

Matt Solberg (D), Lexington City Council, Kentucky

Liz Stefanics (D), New Mexico Corporation Commission, New Mexico

Susan Tracy (D), U.S. House of Representatives, Massachusetts

Barbara Willer (D), Multnomah County Board, Oregon

Kay Young (D), State House, Georgia

Zeke Zeidler (D), State Assembly, California

Withdrawals:

Mike Duffy (R), Massachusetts State Treasurer, Massachusetts

Andrew Reyes (D), Mecklenburg County Board, North Carolina


Keep in Touch

Stay up-to-date on the latest in LGBTQ representation and
Victory Institute's work increase the number of LGBTQ public leaders.
join our movement