As the 2018 midterm primary season marches on, more and more LGBTQ candidates are not only running for public office but winning their initial contests.
In last night’s primary for the Democratic nomination for governor in Vermont, transgender businesswoman Christine Hallquist made history as the first transgender candidate to win the nomination of a major political party for governor.
With 99% of precincts reporting, the former energy company CEO garnered 48.3% of the Democratic primary vote, more than twice the 22% of her nearest opponent, James Ehlers.
She will now face incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Scott, who is running for his second term. While Vermont tends to lean progressive, Hallquist still faces an uphill climb as no candidate has defeated an incumbent governor in the Green Mountain state since 1962.
Should she win this fall, she would become only the second LGBTQ person to become governor in the United States following openly bisexual Gov. Kate Brown, the incumbent governor of Oregon who’s running for reelection this year as well.
Hallquist, who came out as transgender three years ago, told The Advocate last month that her priorities include addressing poverty, promoting renewable energy and fighting climate change, spotlighting economic development in the state’s rural areas, raising the minimum wage, working toward single-payer health care, and reworking the school funding structure, as well as empowering LGBTQ Vermonters.
Hallquist’s historic win last night means, as noted by Chris Johnson of The Washington Blade, that "all 4 letters in [the] LGBT acronym" are represented in Dem gubernatorial nominees this year.”
All 4 letters in LGBT acronym have won Democratic nomination to run for governor this year:
L — Lupe Valdez, lesbian candidate in Texas
G — Jared Polis, gay candidate in Colorado
B — Kate Brown, bisexual incumbent in Oregon
T — Christine Hallquist, trans candidate in Vermont
— Chris Johnson (@chrisjohnson82) August 15, 2018
In addition to Hallquist, the LGBT Democratic candidates who have won their primaries for governor include Oregon’s Brown; Lupe Valdez, a lesbian woman running in Texas; and Jared Polis, a gay man running in Colorado.
According to a study by the LGBTQ organization, The Victory Institute, 2018 has seen over 400 LGBTQ political candidates running for office in America.
Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of The Victory Fund, released a statement about Hallquist’s historic win, which read in part:
“Christine’s victory is a defining moment in the movement for trans equality and is especially remarkable given how few out trans elected officials there are at any level of government. Many thought it unthinkable a viable trans gubernatorial candidate like Christine would emerge so soon. Yet Vermont voters chose Christine not because of her gender identity, but because she is an open and authentic candidate with a long history of service to the state, and who speaks to the issues most important to voters."
Tom Perez of the Democratic National Committee issued this statement:
“The DNC is proud to congratulate Christine Hallquist, Vermont’s Democratic nominee for governor and the country’s first-ever openly transgender nominee for governor, along with all of tonight’s Democratic nominees in the Green Mountain State.
“Christine’s historic victory tonight is an inspiration to LGBTQ people everywhere, and we are excited to stand behind her and the entire slate of fantastic Democratic nominees in Vermont.
“There’s no doubt that Christine and her fellow nominees will join a strong ticket this November that will fight for our values and serve as dedicated advocates for Vermont’s working families. Vermont voters know that Democrats have their backs and share their values, and they’re ready to organize to turn more seats blue this November.”
Watch Hallquist’s campaign video below. The general election takes place on November 6, 2018.