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Following Big Victories, 2019 Dubbed 'Year of the Lesbian Mayor'

Three out lesbian mayoral candidates were elected to major cities in 2019—more than doubling the total number of out lesbians who have ever served as mayor of top 100 cities. Lori Lightfoot became the highest-ranking LGBTQ+ mayor in US history when Chicagoans elected her with an astounding 73 percent of the vote. Jane Castor became the first out LGBTQ+ mayor of Tampa and Satya Rhodes-Conway the first out mayor of Madison, Wisconsin. LGBTQ+ Victory Fund invested heavily in their races, along with Kansas City mayoral candidate Jolie Justus, who came up short on Election Night. LGBTQ+ Victory Fund dubbed 2019 the “Year of the Lesbian Mayor,” and national media agreed.

2019 mayoral candidates from left to right: Jolie Justus, Lori Lightfoot, Satya Rhodes-Conway and Jane Castor.

The Chicago mayoral race had seemed like a long shot. With 13 candidates in the mayoral race and polls showing Lightfoot with little name recognition, many politicos were questioning her viability in late 2018. Yet LGBTQ+ Victory Fund’s political staff reviewed her campaign plan, analyzed her fundraising efforts and recognized her messaging was perfectly aligned with the mood of Chicago voters. In December 2018, LGBTQ+ Victory Fund became her first national endorsement, nearly four months before the primary. On Election Night, Lightfoot won all 50 Chicago wards and 73 percent of the vote, taking former Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s title as the highest-ranking LGBTQ+ mayor in U.S. history.

Parker, then Victory Fund’s President & CEO,  said the following about Lightfoot’s victory:

“A Black lesbian taking power in the nation’s third-largest city is a historic moment for so many communities that are too often ignored in American politics. Chicago’s enormous influence on the national dialogue provides a platform for Lori to promote more inclusive solutions to the challenges facing our cities and nation – and to be a credible messenger as well. As the highest-ranking LGBTQ+ person ever elected mayor of an American city – a title she takes from me – she is also now a key leader in the movement to build LGBTQ+ political power nationwide.”

LGBTQ Caucus Founded in Nashville

The five out members of the Nashville Metro Council pose shortly after creating the first LGBTQ+ Caucus.
The five out members of the Nashville Metro Council pose shortly after creating the first LGBTQ+ Caucus.

For years, Keith Durbin was the sole out member of Nashville’s 40-member Metro Council, until the 2015 elections in which Nancy VanReece and Brett Withers won seats. In 2019, with the election of three more LGBTQ+ members – Emily Benedict, Russ Bradford and Zach Young – the group officially formed a caucus to advance LGBTQ+ interests at the local level. The LGBTQ+ Caucus of the Metropolitan Council of Nashville and Davidson County was announced on October 5, 2019.

Queer Representation Triples In Indianapolis Government

Alison Brown
Alison Brown

On Election Night, voters in Indianapolis elected Alison Brown and Keith Potts, who joined incumbent Zach Adamson as out LGBTQ+ members of the City-County Council. During the election, Brown faced attack ads that pointed out her Victory Fund endorsement and feminist views. She was the first LGBTQ+ woman ever elected to the council.

LGBTQ+ Victory Fund Endorsed Candidates in 2019


Adam Ebbin, Virginia State Senate, VA

Adam Medrano, Dallas City Council, TX

Aime Wichtendahl Hiawatha City Council IA

Air Rhodes, Beacon City Council, NY

Alex Arroyo, East Aurora School Board, IL

Ali Brown, Indianapolis City-County Council, IN

Alison Coombs, Aurora City Council, CO

Andy Yeoman, Doraville City Council, GA

Antonio Brown, Atlanta City Council, GA

Benjamin Dickens, Roeland Park City Council, KS

Bob Zuckerman, South Orange Village Board of Trustees, NJ

Bobby McDowall, Mogadore Village Council, OH

Brett Withers, Metropolitan Council of Nashville and Davidson County, TN

Brian Knudsen, Las Vegas City Council, NV

Bruce Kraus, Pittsburgh City Council, PA

Candi CdeBaca, Denver City Council, CO

Candida Affa, Allentown City Council, PA

Carol Rizzo, Neptune Township Committee, NJ

Cesar Stewart-Morales, Framingham City Council, MA

Chad West, Dallas City Council, TX

Chauntyll Allen, St. Paul Board of Education, MN

Corina Pfeil, Kenmore City Council, WA

Damien Warsavage, Upper Darby School Director, PA

Damon Seils, Carrboro Board of Alderman, NC

Dan O'Malley, Lakewood City Council, OH

Danica Roem, Virginia House of Delegates, VA

David Neill, Upper Darby School Director, PA

David Richardson, Miami Beach City Commission, FL

Dawn Adams, Virginia House of Delegates, VA

Deb Steele, Clinton Township Fiscal Officer, OH

Denise Simmons, Cambridge City Council, MA

Donna Price, Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, VA

Eddie Sundquist, Mayor of Jamestown, NY

Emily Benedict, Metropolitan Council of Nashville and Davidson County, TN

Erin Edwards, Riverside City Council, CA

Gaitley Stevenson-Mathews, Glen Cove City Council, NY

Geoffrey Kors, Palm Springs City Council, CA

Greg Parks, Clerk of the Circuit Court, VA

Greg Smith, City and Borough of Juneau Assembly, AK

Holly Ryan, Newton City Council, MA

Jackie Goldberg, LAUSD Board of Education, CA

James Cappleman, Chicago City Council, IL

James Demetriades, Cromwell Town Council, CT

James Michael Bowers, Lincoln City Council, NE

Jane Campbell, Davidson Town Council, NC

Jane Castor, Mayor of Tampa, FL

Jane Cera, Clinton Township Trustee, OH

Jason Hoskins, Southfield City Council, MI

Jeffrey Litke, Naugatuck Board of Education, CT

Jessica Rothchild, Scranton City Council, PA

Jessica Semler, Etna Borough Council, PA

Jillian Johnson, Durham City Council, NC

Jim Carruthers, Mayor of Traverse City, MI

John D'Amico, West Hollywood City Council, CA

John Rach, University Heights City Council, OH

Jonathan Melton, Raleigh City Council, NC

Jonathan Panofsky, Centennial School Board Director, PA

Jordan Sears, Gold Bar City Council, WA

Jose Cisneros, San Francisco Treasurer, CA

Joseph Geierman, Mayor of Doraville, GA

Justin Gould, University Heights City Council, OH

Karen Bolton, Bremerton School District No. 100-C, WA

Karl Frisch, Fairfax County School Board, VA

Keith Potts, Indianapolis City-County Council, IN

Kimberly Sanberg, Golden Valley City Council, MN

Kurtis Purtee, Savannah City Alderman, GA

Linda Vega, Allentown School Board, PA

Liz Breadon, Boston City Council, MA

Lizbeth DeSelm, Melrose School Committee, MA

Lori Lightfoot, Mayor of Chicago, IL

Lori Schreiber, Montgomery County Clerk of Courts, PA

Lori Trent, Upper Arlington Board of Education, OH

Lydia Lavelle, Mayor of Carrboro, NC

Marcony Almeida-Barros, Everett School Committee, MA

Maria Hadden, Chicago City Council, IL

Marisa Ziegler, Parkland School Board Directors, PA

Mark Levine, Virginia House of Delegates, VA

Mark Sickles, Virginia House of Delegates, VA

Marsha Silverman, Glen Cove City Council, NY

Matt Hughes, Hillsborough Board of Commissioners, NC

Meredith Hegg, Upper Darby School Director, PA

Merisa Bowers, Gahanna City Council, OH

Michael DeFusco, Hoboken City Council, NJ

Michael Fenton, Springfield City Council, MA

Michael Sutphin, Blacksburg Town Council, VA

Mike McFall, Hazel Park City Council, MI

Mitchell Nowakowski, Buffalo Common Council, NY

Mitra Nelson, St. Paul City Council, MN

N.J. Akbar, Akron School Board, OH

Nancy VanReece, Metropolitan Council of Nashville and Davidson County, TN

Omar Narvaez, Dallas City Council, TX

P.J. Brennan, College Park City Council, MD

Pat Davis, Albuquerque City Council, NM

Patrick Wojahn, Mayor of College Park, MD

Raymond Lopez, Chicago City Council, IL

Rich Rockwell, Bloomfield Town Council, NJ

Richard Trojanski, Maple Heights City Council, OH

Robert Case, Framingham City Council, MA

Robert Gallegos, Houston City Council, TX

Robin Kniech, Denver City Council, CO

Russ Bradford, Metropolitan Council of Nashville and Davidson County, TN

Ryan Egan, Randolph Town Council, MA

Ryan O'Malley, Malden City Council, MA

Sahar Muranovic, David Douglas School Board, OR

Saige Martin, Raleigh City Council, NC

Satya Rhodes-Conway, Mayor of Madison, WI

Scott Galvin, North Miami City Council, FL

Sheena Barnes, Toledo Public Schools Board, OH

Theresa Gadus, Toledo City Council, OH

Tiffany Palmer, Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, PA

Tom Tunney, Chicago City Council, IL

Ty Stober, Vancouver City Council, WA

Wartyna Davis, Bloomfield Town Council, NJ

Xavier Garcia-Molina, Lancaster City Council, PA

Zach Adamson, Indianapolis City-County Council, IN

Zach Young, Metropolitan Council of Nashville and Davidson County, TN


Aaron Edmond, Prince William Board of County Supervisors , VA

Adrian Rivera-Reyes, Philadelphia City Council, PA

Alan Clendenin, Tampa City Council, FL

Alejandra St. Guillen, Boston City Council, MA

Alex Giorgio-Rubin, South Bend Common Council, IN

Amani Johnson, Southfield City Council, MI

Andrew Gilchrist, Perinton Town Supervisor, NY

Anthony Oddo, Bainbridge Island City Council, WA

Beth Salkind, Magisterial District Judge, PA

Brendan Csaposs, East Baton Rouge Metro Council, LA

Carlton Smith, Mississippi State Senate, MS

Carlton Stuart, Upper Merion Township Supervisor, PA

Charles Flowers, Metropolitan Council of Nashville and Davidson County, TN

Chris Hillmann, Mayor of Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

Colin Bird-Martinez, Chicago City Council, IL

Connor Berdy, Warren City Council, MI

Danny O'Donnell, Public Advocate of NYC, NY

David McMurry, Metropolitan Council of Nashville and Davidson County, TN

Davin Clemons, Memphis City Council, TN

Deborah Mell, Chicago City Council, IL

Deja Lynn Alvarez, Philadelphia City Council, PA

Egan Orion, Seattle City Council, WA

Eliz Markowitz, Texas House of Representatives, TX

Ella Coffee, Tampa City Council, FL

Erin Moore, Dallas City Council, TX

Evan Bergeron, Louisiana House of Representatives, LA

Evangeline Beechler-Lincoln, Caldwell City Council, ID

Francena Amparo, Dutchess County Legislator, NY

Frankie Gonzales-Wolfe, San Antonio City Council, TX

Hélène Vincent, Boston City Council, MA

Henry Schwaller, Hays City Commission, KS

Henry Sias, Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, PA

Isabel Longoria, Houston City Council, TX

Jake Banton, St. Louis City Board of Aldermen, MO

Jerred Price, Memphis City Council, TN

Jolie Justus, Mayor of Kansas City, MO

Joseph Shepard, USD 259 School Board, KS

Joshua Carter Guerra, Socorro ISD Board of Trustees, TX

Justin Carroll, Town of Clinton Justice, NY

LaTonsha "LT" Pridgen, Coles County Board Supervisor, VA

Lauren Vidas, Philadelphia City Council, PA

LaWana Mayfield, Charlotte City Council, NC

Lawrence Robinson, Phoenix City Council, AZ

Les Young, Palm Springs City Council, CA

Linh Hoang, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, VA

Mark Sanders, Lawrence Common Council, IN

Meghan Huryk, Neptune City Borough Council, NJ

Michael Bowman, Kentucky State Treasurer, KY

Michael Warren, Township of Rochelle Park, NJ

Nelvin Adriatico Houston City Council TX

Nick Hellyar, Houston City Council, TX

Philip Du, Dutchess County Legislature, NY

Rafer Johnson, Fulton County Commission, GA

Ryan Brown, Public Service Commission, MS

Sean Murphy, Mayor of Telluride, CO

Shelley Kennedy, Houston City Council, TX

Sophia Hawes-Tingey, Midvale City Council, UT

Stephen Napier, Mayor of Cohoes, NY

Tiffany Cabán, Queens District Attorney, NY

Tony Smith, Denver City Council, CO

Victor Sanchez, Monroe County Legislature, NY

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