November 14, 2017 at 11:51 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Victory Fund endorses Madaleno in Md. governor race

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund on Nov. 14, 2017, endorsed Maryland state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) for governor. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund on Tuesday endorsed Maryland state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) for governor.

Victory Fund President Aisha C. Moodie-Mills in a statement applauded Madaleno for “his leadership role in making the freedom to marry the law of the land in Maryland.” Moodie-Mills also said Madaleno has a “history of success in passing smart and progressive public policy.”

“We are proud to support Rich as he charts a path to victory in the June primary and the November general election,” said Moodie-Mills. “Rich Madaleno will be the experienced, progressive governor Marylanders deserve, and also a vital LGBTQ voice nationally.”

Madaleno in 2002 became the first openly gay person elected to the Maryland State Assembly. The Montgomery County Democrat has represented the 18th Senate District in the state Senate since 2007.

Former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings and former State Department officials Alec Ross and Krishanti Vignarajah are among the Democrats who are running to succeed Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Madaleno — who is married to Mark Madaleno Hodge and has two children — could become the first openly gay man elected governor in the U.S. if he were to win.

“While there have been other LGBTQ candidates for governor in Maryland, he is the first to receive our endorsement,” said Moodie-Mills in her statement. “Rich has the opportunity to make history as the first person with a same-sex spouse ever elected to a governor’s office in America.”

The Victory Fund on Tuesday also endorsed Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, who is seeking re-election, and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), who is running for governor in Colorado.

Brown, who is bisexual, in 2015 became the country’s first out governor after a influence-peddling scandal forced John Kitzhaber to resign. Polis, who has represented Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District since 2009, is running to succeed Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper who cannot seek re-election because of term limits.

“Just one week ago LGBTQ candidates shattered lavender ceilings and broke down barriers across the nation — and we are fired up and determined to expand on those historic victories in 2018,” said Moodie-Mills in a press release the Victory Fund released on Tuesday. “Oregon Gov. Kate Brown remains the only openly LGBTQ person ever elected governor in the United States. But with wins for her, Representative Jared Polis in Colorado, and state Senator Rich Madaleno in Maryland, we can triple LGBTQ representation in the governors’ mansions next year.”

“While it is essential and groundbreaking to have three outstanding LGBTQ candidates running for governor, we know their focus is on improving the lives of residents in their home states,” she added. “We are thrilled to endorse these three constituent-focused gubernatorial candidates in their 2018 races — and Victory Fund will get to work on their behalf starting now.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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