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2007

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Number of Out Elected Officials Grows to 400+

Victory Fund graphic from 2007 highlighting the states that lacked out LGBTQ officials. States in dark blue had no out LGBTQ legislators in 2007, while states in dark blue had no out LGBTQ elected officials.
Victory Fund graphic from 2007 highlighting the states that lacked out LGBTQ officials. States in dark blue had no out LGBTQ legislators in 2007, while states in dark blue had no out LGBTQ elected officials.

In 2007, Victory Fund endorsed more candidates than in any odd-numbered election year in its history – and by a lot. It endorsed 71 candidates, 43 of whom won, growing the number of out LGBTQ elected officials to more than 400 for the first time. Yet 19 states still lacked an out state legislator and six states had no out LGBTQ elected officials at all. States without any out elected officials included: Alaska, Louisiana, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia. 

First Gay Men Elected in Alabama and Tennessee

Howard Bayless (left) and Keith Durbin (right)
Howard Bayless (left) and Keith Durbin (right)

Victories in the South remained tough for out LGBTQ candidates, yet in 2007, voters in Alabama and Tennessee elected gay men to public office for the first time. Howard Bayless won a seat on the Birmingham City Board of Education, becoming the first out gay man elected in Alabama, just one year after Patricia Todd had become the first out LGBTQ person ever elected in the state. In Nashville, Keith Durbin won a seat on the Metro Council, becoming the first out gay man elected in Tennessee. 

First LGBTQ Republican Elected in the South

Doraville City Councilman Brian Bates was elected in 2007.

LGBTQ elected officials in the South were a rarity – and LGBTQ Republican elected officials in the South even more so. But in 2007, Brian Bates was elected to the Doraville City Council in Georgia with 58 percent of the vote, becoming the first out LGBTQ Republican ever elected in the South. The victory was especially triumphant since it was his second attempt at winning the seat. He lost narrowly during his first run after becoming the target of a homophobic whisper campaign. In 2007, there were just nine out LGBTQ officials in the entire state of Georgia.

"I am gay and there's no reason to hide it," Bates told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that year. “I made the conscious decision to be open and honest about my orientation. It really didn't come up with my conversations with voters, and for the most part, I don't think they care. It was not a campaign issue. There is not a gay agenda. It wasn't an issue."

Marriage Equality Law Passes New York Assembly

Assembly member Daniel O’Donnell holds a press conference to urge colleagues to support a marriage equality bill in 2009. Courtesy of Donna F. Aceto
Assembly member Daniel O’Donnell holds a press conference to urge colleagues to support a marriage equality bill in 2009. Courtesy of Donna F. Aceto

Danny O’Donnell – the brother of comedian Rosie O’Donnell – was first elected to the New York state Assembly in 2002, the first out gay man elected to the body. As an assembly member he was relentless in pushing for marriage equality. In June 2007, for the first time he secured passage of the Marriage Equality Act, although it was stopped in the Republican-controlled state senate despite the best efforts of out LGBTQ state Senator Tom Duane. O’Donnell would successfully pursue passage two more times before it finally passed both chambers and was signed into law in June 2011. On January 29, 2012, O’Donnell married John Banta, his partner of 31 years.

LGBTQ Victory Fund Endorsed Candidates in 2007

LGBTQ Victory Fund endorsed 72 candidates in 2007.

Wins

Ruth Atkin, City Council, Emeryville, California

Sally Clark (D), Seattle City Council, Washington

Kecia Cunningham (D), Decatur, City Commission, Georgia

Geri Delevich (D), New Hope City Council, Pennsylvania

Karen Kellen (D), Lakewood City Council, Colorado

Lydia Lavelle (D), Carrboro Alderman, North Carolina

Sue Lovell (D), Houston City Council, Texas

Annise Parker (D), Controller, Houston, Texas

Debra Silber (), NY City Civil Court , New York

Denise Simmons (D), Cambridge City Council , Massachusetts

Jeffrey Anderson (DFL), Duluth City Council, At-Large, Minnesota

Brian Bates (R), Doraville City Council, Post 2, Georgia

Howard Bayless (NP ), Birmingham School Board , Alabama

Randy Bishop (D), Neptune Township Committee, New Jersey

Joel Burns (NP), Fort Worth City Council , Texas

Pat Coluzzi (D), City Commissioner, Rehoboth Beach , Delavare

Jon Cooper, Suffllok County Legislator, New York

Jonathan Cote (D), Manchester, School Bard Ward 12, New Hampshire

Craig Covey (D), Mayor, Ferndale, Michigan

Joe DeMedeiros (), New Bedford City Council Ward 3, Massachusetts

Keith Durbin (D), Nashville City Council, Tennessee

Adam Ebbin (D), VA House of Delegates, Dist 49, Virginia

Timothy Eustace (D), Mayor, Maywood , New Jersey

Frank Ferri (D), State Representative, Dist 22, Rhode Island

Reed Gusciora (D), NJ General Assembly, Dist 15 , New Jersey

Adam Gutcheon (D), Windsor Board of Education , Connecticut

John Heilman (), Mayor, West Hollywood , California

Ray Johnson (), Village Trustee, Oak Park , Illinois

Micah Kellner (D/WP), NY General Assembly, Dist , New York

Bruce Kraus (D), Pittsburgh City Council Dist 3, Pennsylvania

Greg Lemke (DFL), Moorhead City Council, Minnesota

Henry Lo, Garvey School Board , California

Craig Lowe, Gainesville City Commission, Florida

Thomas Peters, School Board, University City , Missouri

Mike Pohl (D), Manchester, Board of Education, Connecticut

Steve Pougnet, Mayor, Palm Springs, California

Timothy Purington (D), Holyoke City Council Ward 4, Massachusetts

Tom Rasmussen (D), Seattle City Council, Washington

Lance Rhodes, East Pointe, Ward B City Council , Georgia

Matthew Titone (D/WP), NY General Assembly, Dist , New York

Patrick Wojahn (NP), College Park City Council, Dist 1, Maryland

Ken Zalewski (D/WP), Troy City Council, New York

Losses

Elena Guajardo (D), San Antonio City Council, Texas

Justin Armintrout, Missoula City Council , Montana

William Brownson (R), Columbus City Council, Ohio

Michelle Bruce, Riverdale, City Council, Georgia

Shane Burkett (D), Nashville City Council, Tennessee

James Cappleman (D), Chicago Board of Alderman, Dist 46, Illinois

Gary Cloutier (NP), Mayor, Vallejo , California

Jeffrey Dion (D), County Supervisor , Virginia

Michael Gongora (D), Miami Beach City Commission, Florida

Patrick Gossett (D), City Commissioner , Delavare

Joseph Hernandez, Dallas City Council, Texas

Steve Howard (D), Mayor, Rutland, Vermont

Frank Kruszewski (D), Miami Beach City Commission, Florida

James Llanas (DFL), Maplewood City Council , Minnesota

Marty Martinez (D), Somerville, Alderman At-Large , Massachusetts

Fred Mason III (D), City Council, Dist 11, Maryland

Chris Moss (NP), Frisco City Council , Texas

Mickey Northcutt (D), Salem City Council, Ward 1, Massachusetts

Ed Oakley (NP), Mayor, Dallas, Texas

Eugene Pearson (D), Boulder City Council, Colorado

Lance Ringel (D), Town Board, Rhinebeck , New York

Grace Ross (NP), Worcester City Council, Massachusetts

William Schmidt (R), Mayor, Peekskill, New York

Tim Schofield (D), Boston City Council, Massachusetts

Jass Stewart (D), Mayor, Brockton, Massachusetts

Darrell Watson (D), Denver City Council, Colorado

Thomas Zerafa (D), Mayor, Oak Park , Michigan

Ed Zipprich (D), Red Bank, City Council , New Jersey

Withdrawals

Hugh McGough (NP), PA  Court of Common Please, Allegheny, Pennsylvania

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