American Government and Politics

Year of the LGBTQ Candidate? LGBTQ State Legislative Candidates in the Trump Era



The Trump era has facilitated the emergence of a strong backlash against the successes of the LGBTQ movement. However, the politics of this era also motivated a record number of LGBTQ candidates to run for public office. We examine the electoral performance of these candidates in the 2018 election cycle relative to non-LGBTQ candidates employing state legislative election data from partisan election states in the updated State Legislative Election Returns (SLERs) database. We also conduct a brief case study of elections in Virginia, which led to the nation's first transgender state legislative representative taking office, to understand how a number of LGBTQ candidates overcame seemingly long electoral odds in 2017. Drawing on recent research on public attitudes toward LGBTQ rights, we expect to find that most LGBTQ candidates for state legislative seats rode on a Democratic wave and did not experience an electoral deficit for being LGBTQ.


Thumbnail image of 2018 LGBT candidates full 1.2.pdf


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