Connect with us

2022 Midterm Elections

Midterm elections: Dire and consequential for LGBTQ people

Control of both House and Senate are up for grabs



Los Angeles County residents Robert Keir and Zach Zakar vote inside West Hollywood's Plummer Park Community Center during California's 2022 primary elections (Photo courtesy of Los Angeles County)

“There is always a lull after a tempest, and so the political world has subsided into an unwonted calm since the election,” commented a reporter for the New York Times. “The Republicans are naturally . . . exultant over their sweeping victories.” Actually not a crystal ball prediction for next week’s elections outcome but a look back at a midterm cycle that presaged a violent presidential election cycle that followed two years later.

The American nation was reeling from a controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision on a divisive subject matter, one of the two main political parties had fractured, additionally Congress and the president were caught up in social and cultural issues along with dealing with a continuing financial panic in the U.S. caused by the declining international economy and over-expansion of the domestic economy.

If any of that sounds familiar and ripped from today’s headlines it actually isn’t. Those were the conditions in American 164 years ago in 1858 two years before the Civil War. There are parallels and the argument to be made that the current political environment nearly mirrors that time.

The issue of the day was slavery and Chief Justice Roger B. Taney and the court’s Dred Scott decision. The nation reeling from the 1857 financial panic and then the nation’s chief executive, James Buchanan, an honest, talented and skillful politician, who was no match for the forces that tore at the country in the late 1850s, setting the stage for the violence that followed as the country’s voters became polarized and divided.

The decision earlier this past year by the Roberts Supreme Court to overturn Roe. v. Wade, the current levels of inflation, the war in Ukraine, which has negatively impacted the world economy and the U.S., and then the fact that the Republican Party has turned the very existence of transgender Americans coupled with a rash of LGBTQ book bans and “Don’t Say Gay” laws both passed and proposed, and finally a nation still recovering from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has created nearly a similar perfect storm.

The majority of voters in the Republican camp say it’s the economy while Democrats say its threats to democracy a carry over from the Trump era and the events of the Capitol Insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021. Women’s reproductive rights in the aftermath of the demise of Roe v. Wade has also been a focal point of Democratic campaigns.

Yet the focus of many GOP campaigns is still pounding away at LGBTQ issues, “parents’ rights” a talking pointing rallying voters around stopping the so-called “LGBTQ agenda” in schools.

More troubling has been the rise in domestic white nationalistic groups, neo-Nazi and far-right extremists who target LGBTQ Americans and other minorities in increasingly violent demonstrations such as those seen at “Drag Queen Story” hours and then too targeting hospitals and healthcare for transgender youth with threats of violence.

The rise in anti-LGBTQ animus, especially on trans youth has impacted the campaign trail as a major campaign issue especially in swing states. Politico reported this week that former Trump White House aide Stephen Miller, through his America First Legal PAC, has targeted swing states with an avalanche of radio adverts and direct mail materials that target trans youth healthcare which anti-trans pundits have labeled “gender mutilation.”

In states like Florida and Texas which have passed draconian measures to limit trans healthcare the over arching worry of voters of the economy and democracy itself has been married to LGBTQ issues by the Republican candidates.

Governmental agencies have also targeted the trans community. Last week, the Florida Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathic Medicine Joint Rules/Legislative Committee advanced a rule that will effectively ban gender-affirming care for minors in the state. 

Against this backdrop, in a history making first, the LGBTQ Victory Fund, the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office, released a report last month detailing that at least 1,065 out LGBTQ people ran or are running for offices with elections in all fifty states, the most in history.

The following races are considered key in this midterm cycle;

  • Tina Kotek, would be one of the nation’s first lesbian governors.
  • Maura Healey, would be one of the nation’s first lesbian governors.
  • Becca Balint, would be the first woman and the first LGBTQ person elected to Congress from Vermont. Vital to maintaining a pro-equality majority in Congress.
  • Erick Russell, would be the first Black LGBTQ statewide elected official in U.S. history.
  • Kris Mayes, will be critical to protecting LGBTQ and reproductive rights in Arizona. Arizona has a ban on abortion that Mayes has committed to not enforcing, while her opponent has committed the opposite.
  • Kameron Nelson, would restore LGBTQ representation in the South Dakota state legislature. South Dakota is one of four state with zero LGBTQ state legislators.
  • Ally Layman, will be vital to restoring reproductive rights in West Virginia. West Virginia was the second state to pass an abortion ban after the fall of Roe.
  • Venton Jones, will be one of the first LGBTQ Black men elected to the state legislature. Will be a vital vote against anti-LGBTQ legislation led by Greg Abbott.
  • Janelle Perez, would be one of the first LGBTQ women elected to the state Senate. In the wake of “Don’t Say Gay,” she would also be the only LGBTQ parent in the state legislature.
  • James Roesener, would be the first trans man elected to a state legislature in U.S. history.

New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, an openly gay man and the first LGBTQ person to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, in his own reelection race to keep his seat in New York’s 17th congressional district, is in trouble after Republican nominee, state Assemblyman Michael Lawler, has shifted the race from “lean Democrat” to “toss up.”

That the newly redrawn district is competitive has come as a shock, given that President Joe Biden won the area by 10 points in 2020, the Cook Political Report noted adding that if Lawler defeats Maloney, it would be the first time a Republican has defeated the chair of the DCCC in 40 years.

The first out LGBTQ person elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota, Angie Craig, who represents Minnesota’s 2nd congressional district; out Rep. Christopher Pappas from New Hampshire’s 1st congressional district; are also considered “toss ups” by the Cook Political Report.

Elsewhere “MAGA extremists,” including Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) continue to bolster efforts to stymie LGBTQ equality rights and gains hitting the campaign trail on behalf of GOP candidates.

Cruz attacked trans people and their supporters most recently during a rally for Virginia congressional candidate Yesli Vega that took place at a Prince William County church a week ago.

“Virginia is a parent state … this is a battle between sanity and insanity,” said the Texas Republican during the rally that took place at the Montclair Tabernacle Church in Dumfries. “These people are nuts. They can’t figure out what a woman is. The last I checked, that was not a trick question.”

Greene continues to publicly vilify LGBTQ people using disparaging hateful terms like “groomer” and accusing Democrats of supporting an LGBTQ “pedophile” agenda.

On the West Coast in another critical race, out candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner, an attorney and regional emergency manager from central Oregon, is locked in a tight race with Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer in the state’s 5th congressional district. Chavez-DeRemer backed Trump and has previously indicated support of an abortion ban beginning around six weeks of pregnancy, the first point at which doctors can detect electrical activity in what would become a heart.

Political analysts see LGBTQ issues as a focal point in many local and statewide races as school boards and communities continue efforts to ban LGBTQ-themed books and attacks on trans youth.

There are positive indicators, for example, California is poised to become the first state in the nation to achieve 10 percent LGBTQ representation in its state legislature. (California’s four out LGBTQ state senators are serving terms through 2024.) 

The messaging though from Victory Fund and other LGBTQ groups is blunt: LGBTQ lives, prosperity, and rights are on ballots across the nation, the LGBTQ voters and allies must counter the GOP onslaught.


2022 Midterm Elections

Republicans gain control of the U.S. House

Narrow GOP majority could bode well for blocking anti-LGBTQ bills.



U.S. Capitol
(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Certainty over Republicans’ control of the U.S. House of Representatives crystalized on Tuesday, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) fended off a bid for his position by fellow GOP Sen. Rick Scott (Fla.).

As the final votes from last week’s midterm elections continue to trickle in, by Wednesday evening it became clear that when the 118th Congress is seated in January, the legislature will be divided between the House and the U.S. Senate, where Democrats will either retain their 50-vote majority or win an extra seat, pending the results of Georgia’s runoff election in December.

It is the House, too, that will be divided, as the majority’s shift from blue to red was narrowly won, with only seven races whose results have not yet been tallied. Republicans’ control of the chamber comes with 218 seats, a feat they accomplished today. By 7:40 p.m. ET, Democrats had won 210 seats.

Leadership in both chambers has also been decided. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is poised to take over as House Speaker in January when the new Congress meets. McConnell, meanwhile, prevailed over a challenge for his Senate leadership by Scott, his Republican colleague.

“With a small Republican majority, we think there’s a greater chance of blocking anti-gay and anti-trans bills, which may now not even be brought up for a vote,” Geoff Wetrosky, campaign director for the Human Rights Campaign, told the Washington Blade by phone on Tuesday.

“Not only because of the composition of Congress, but also because last week’s election made clear that voters do not support this kind of extremism,” Wetrosky said.

Annise Parker, president of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, told the Blade by phone on Tuesday that “the first six months will be spent in internal warfare, but it’s clear that there won’t be anything positive coming out of the House for our community.”

There “very well may be negative bills,” Parker added, noting that with a slim majority in the lower chamber, there is unlikely to be much legislation, period.

Continue Reading

2022 Midterm Elections

Democrats retain control of the U.S. Senate

Catherine Cortez Masto won reelection in Nev.



U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) (Photo courtesy of Twitter)

Control of the U.S. Senate will remain in the hands of Democrats after U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) defeated Republican Adam Laxalt, the state’s former attorney general, in a hotly contested race.

The 58-year-old Cortez Masto has been serving as the senior U.S. senator from Nevada since 2017. Previously she was the state’s 32nd attorney general from 2007-2015.

Her reelection means that President Joe Biden maintains his ability to confirm judicial nominees and Cabinet secretaries. All eyes are now on the U.S. House of Representatives where the balance of power is at stake.

David Wasserman, a House campaign analyst with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, told the Los Angeles Times Saturday that “it will absolutely come down to California,” which the Golden State’s 10 Congressional races are deemed most at risk of flipping and still too close to call.

Cortez Masto, the first Latina elected to the Senate, endured a tough reelection campaign made more protracted after the mail-in ballot counting with the results resting largely with the state’s most populous county, Clark County, home to Las Vegas, which posted updates once a day since Tuesday. 

NBC News reported that in the campaign’s closing days, Laxalt, a MAGA Trump loyalist who drew the former president as well as Donald Trump, Jr., to the state to stump for him, hammered a strict partisan message, vowing not to work with the left and promising to hold Senate hearings examining Biden’s top medical adviser Anthony Fauci and Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.

Laxalt had also questioned the results of the 2020 election, even saying the results were “rigged.”

“There should be consequences for people who undermine our democracy, who peddle the ‘big lie’ and conspiracy theories,” Cortez Masto said at an event in Reno, the state’s second largest city, in October.

Laxalt handily won the state’s 15 rural counties, in some counties winning 80 percent of the vote, while Cortez Masto steadily led the reliably blue Clark County.

Speaking in the Cambodian capital city of Phnom Penh, where he is attending the East Asia Summit, Joe Biden finished his remarks and then took a couple questions from reporters. When asked about the news of the Democrats retaining the Senate after Cortez Masto’s reelection victory the president said: “I feel good and I’m looking forward to the next couple years.”

In the press pool traveling with Biden, The Washington Post’s White House reporter Yasmeen Abutaleb, reported that the president made congratulatory calls to Cortez Masto at 10:08 a.m. local time and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) at 10:28 a.m. local time, (Cambodia.)

The president added that as he congratulated Schumer he noted their [Democrats] focus now is on Georgia.

“I’m not surprised by this … I think it’s a reflection of the quality of our candidates,” Biden said.

“It’s always better at 51,” he added and mentioned that with 51, Democrats don’t need to have an even makeup of committees. “It’s just simply better.”

“Republicans are going to have to decide who they are,”  the president reflected.

Continue Reading

2022 Midterm Elections

Trone wins reelection in Md. 6th Congressional District

Incumbent Democrat beat state Rep. Neil Parrott (R-Frederick County)



Maryland Congressman David Trone (Photo public domain)

Maryland Congressman David Trone has defeated his Republican challenger in the state’s 6th Congressional District.

Trone defeated state Del. Neil Parrott (R-Frederick County) by a 50.38-49.5 percent margin.

The Frederick County Republican had been ahead of the incumbent Democratic, in part, because the boundaries of the district, which includes all of western Maryland, had been redrawn during the last redistricting. Mail-in ballots had yet to be counted when Parrott was ahead of Trone immediately after Election Day. 

“I want to thank Del. Parrott for his phone call this afternoon conceding the race,” said Trone in a tweet. “My promise to him, and to all of the people of the 6th District, is this: I’ll continue to work across the aisle to deliver results and get things done. Thank you, Maryland! Let’s get back to work.”

Continue Reading

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Follow Us @washblade