• Fri. Feb 3rd, 2023

Erick Russell shatters lavender ceiling; first Black LGBTQ person elected statewide in U.S. history

By Albert Fujii

Victory Fund

Washington, DC – In the recent Midterm Elections, LGBTQ Victory Fund candidate Erick Russell won the election for Connecticut State Treasurer. With this victory, he is now the first Black out LGBTQ person ever elected to statewide office in U.S. history.

Russell is a partner in Pullman & Comley, LLC’s Public and Private Finance Department. He represents the state, state agencies, municipalities, underwriters, banks, and trustees in tax-exempt and taxable bond financing transactions. He is the past Vice-Chair of the Connecticut Democratic Party and a member of the Democratic National Committee. He also co-chairs Connecticut Cares, a fundraiser for Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the Civil Rights of the LGBTQ community through impact litigation, education and public policy work. He is the past chair of the LGBTQ Section of the Connecticut Bar Association.

A record number of Black out LGBTQ candidates ran for public office this year.

Mayor Annise Parker, who was elected mayor of Houston in 2009 to become the first LGBT person to lead a major U.S. city and is now President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, issued the following statement:

“For far too long, people of color and the LGBTQ community have lacked equitable representation in government. Erick shattered this lavender ceiling and made history because voters trust him to usher in a new chapter for Connecticut and our nation, one founded in inclusion and compassion. His deep policy experience and grassroots support will make him an exceptional state executive. Not only is his win a sharp rebuke of the current wave of homophobia and racism plaguing our country, it’s a moment of inspiration for our community that our political future is brighter than ever.”

Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund Justice

There are currently just 115 Black out LGBTQ elected officials serving in the U.S., none of whom serve in statewide positions, according to LGBTQ Victory Institute. Victory Fund is tracking election results at victoryfund.org/2022.

LGBTQ Victory Fund works to achieve and sustain equality by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government while ensuring they reflect the diversity of those they serve. Since 1991, Victory Fund has helped thousands of openly LGBTQ candidates win local, state and federal elections.

Total number of LGBTQ elected officials in Ohio is 35, with includes 1 in the State Legislature, 31 locally, and 3 in the judiciary.

N.J. Akbar

Akron Board of Education, President

Democrat

N.J. Akbar

Sheena Barnes

Toledo Public Schools Board of Education, Vice-President

Bisexual

Democrat

Sheena Barnes

Chrisondra Goodwine

Dayton Public School Board

Queer

Chrisondra Goodwine

Justin Gould

University Heights City Council

Gay

Justin Gould

Shannon Hardin

Columbus City Council, President

Gay

Gender Identity

Shannon Hardin

Reggie Harris

Cincinnati City Council

Reggie Harris

At least 1,065 out LGBTQ people ran or are running for office in 2022 – the most in history – and a 5.9 percent jump since the presidential election in 2020, when 1,006 out LGBTQ candidates ran. At least 678 LGBTQ candidates appeared on the general election ballot in November, up from 574 in 2020 – an 18.1 percent increase.

Among the key findings:

A history-making 63.7 percent of known LGBTQ candidates won their primaries and appeared on the ballot in November, compared to 57.1 percent of candidates in 2020 and 60.1 percent in 2018.

LGBTQ candidates ran in all 50 states and the District of Columbia for the first time.

The proportion of LGBTQ candidates of color grew significantly in 2022 – accounting for 38.2 percent of all LGBTQ candidates, compared to 30.9 percent in 2020 and 28.7 percent in 2018.

For the first time in a midterm or presidential year, more Black LGBTQ candidates ran than Latinx LGBTQ candidates, representing 14 percent and 13.2 percent of LGBTQ candidates, respectively.

Candidates who are not cisgender (including transgender, nonbinary and gender non-conforming candidates) ran in record-breaking numbers, representing 13.9 percent of all LGBTQ candidates compared to 7.9 percent in 2020 and 9.1 percent in 2018.

54 nonbinary and/or genderqueer candidates ran in 2022, compared to 17 in 2020 and just four in 2018.

Over half of LGBTQ candidates identified as gay men, a number relatively consistent with previous years, however queer-identified candidates saw the greatest growth, representing 11.2 percent of LGBTQ candidates compared to 6.8 percent in 2020 and 4.3 percent in 2018.

LGBTQ Victory Fund endorsed 497 candidates in 2022 – more than at any time in its 31-year history.