Super Tuesday is obviously a divisive day for the presidential election, with 14 states voting in their primaries. But it’s a big day for down ballot elections, too. Five states — Alabama, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, and Texas — held congressional, state, and local primaries in conjunction with the presidential balloting. While we had a presidential campaign that saw the first openly gay candidate in history, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg isn’t the only member of the LGBTQ+ community who made history during this election cycle.
There were 78 LGBTQ+ candidates on the ballot on Super Tuesday, according to Victory Fund, a group that helps fund and promote political campaigns for LGBTQ+ candidates in the U.S. Of those, 43 won their primaries, four are heading to primary runoffs, and six are still too close to call. Just 25 of the candidates lost their races, including Democrat Gray Ellis, who was the first openly trans man to run for office in North Carolina, where he ran for state Senate.
Four candidates, in particular, are names you’re going to want to know: Todd Gloria, Gina Ortiz Jones, Georgette Gomez, and Jenna Wadsworth. Here is everything you need to know about them.
Gina Ortiz Jones
Texas’ 23rd Congressional District
Gina Ortiz Jones won the Democratic primary in Texas’ 23rd Congressional district, which stretches along the southwestern part of the state, from western San Antonio to just outside of El Paso. In 2018, she came within just 926 votes of defeating Republican Will Hurd in TX-23. Jones, who identifies as a lesbian, served in the military under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and if elected, could become the first openly LGBTQ+ member of Congress from Texas and only the third openly LGBTQ+ person of color elected to Congress. "As an LGBTQ veteran who served under 'Don't Ask Don't Tell,' I know firsthand what is at stake when our elected officials don't have the moral courage to ensure everyone is treated equally under the law,” she said. Her platform prioritizes affordable health care, immigration reform, and education.
Running for mayor of San Diego
Todd Gloria placed first in his primary on Tuesday, earning 40.2 percent of the vote. Under California’s top-two primary system, Gloria will head to a run-off in November with the second place candidate, Scott Sherman, who won 25.2 percent of the vote. If Gloria wins, he would become the first openly gay person elected mayor of San Diego; he would also be the first person of color to be San Diego’s mayor as well (Gloria has Filipino, Dutch, Puerto Rican, and Native American heritage). Gloria is running on a platform that prioritizes addressing homelessness, developing affordable housing in a city experiencing a housing crisis, and improving public transportation.
California’s 53rd District
Georgette Gómez is running for Congress and placed second in her top-two primary, with 18.6 percent of the vote (former Hillary Clinton adviser Sara Jacobs received 29.5 percent). She will face off against Jacobs in the race to replace Democratic Rep. Susan Davis in November. If Gómez wins, the queer-identifying, first-generation Mexican-American could become the first openly LGBTQ+ Latinx member of Congress. Gómez was the first LGBTQ+ Latina elected San Diego City Council President. Her priorities include Medicare for All, affordable housing, climate justice, and immigration. She received an endorsement from Sen. Bernie Sanders.
North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture
Jenna Wadsworth won her primary with 54 percent of the vote, making her the Democratic nominee for North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture. If elected, Wadsworth, who identifies as bisexual, could become the first openly LGBTQ+ elected statewide constitutional officer and the 31-year-old would also be the youngest LGBTQ+ person ever elected to a statewide position.