There’s more good news coming out of Tuesday’s special election. Six openly transgender candidates won their races, including four incumbents. That means that there are now 21 total out trans elected officials nationwide.
Among the most prominent is Virginia Delegate Danica Roem, the first out trans person to win and serve in a state legislature. Roem defeated homophobic Republican Kelly McGinn, who had established a record of opposing same-sex access to adoption, by double digit margins.
Elsewhere in Virginia last night, Donna Price won her race for the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.
In Massachusetts, Holly Ryan won the race for Newton City Council, and Lizbeth DeSelm was re-elected to the Melrose School Committee. In New Hampshire, Gerri Cannon is now a member of both the Somersworth School Board and the New Hampshire House of Representatives.
And in Iowa, Aime Wichtendal won her re-election to city council, securing her status as the first openly trans elected official in the state.
The victories could be a sign of a voter disinterest in Republican attempts to use trans equality as a wedge issue. In several states, Republican strategists used the election to test transphobic legislation as a means to drive conservative voter turnout in 2020.
The anti-trans effort, funded by a shadowy group calling themselves the American Principles Project, made unsubstantiated claims that Democratic Governor Andy Beshear wants to place boys on girls’ wrestling teams. Beshear is on track to win the race in Kentucky, through the election hasn’t yet been called.
Mayor Annise Parker, president and CEO of the Victory Fund, hailed last night’s wins.
“While bigoted political operatives are planning to use trans people as a wedge issue for 2020, voters across the country are rejecting the scare tactics and electing trans people to represent them in office,” she said in a statement. “Trans candidates are resonating with voters because of their authenticity and their focus on the core concerns of constituents.
“That will continue in 2020,” Parker predicted, “when an unprecedented number of trans candidates are expected to run for and win elected office.”
There are 21 openly trans officials currently serving in elected office.