Democrat’s Blue Wave Likely to Include Governor’s Seats. Here’s Why That’s So Important.

Several of the candidates are LGBTQ and looking to make history.

Talk of a Democratic blue wave in the midterms has focused on taking back the House, and possibly also the Senate, from Republican control. While taking back Congress is a key part of stopping the Trump administration’s agenda, including its unending attack on the LGBTQ community and other minority groups, the results of gubernatorial races are also going to have a big impact on the country going forward.

Here’s why you should be keeping an eye on the gubernatorial races on November 6.

Importance of the States

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There is no doubt that the current federal landscape is looking grim for progressives. At present, Republicans control the White House, both houses of Congress, and the Supreme Court, with the recent addition of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Since Trump got elected, we have seen the administration fight a prolonged legal battle to keep transgender people out of the military, rollback protections for trans students and inmates, argue that it should be legal to fire queer people and deny them services on the basis of a religious objection, and do away with the president’s council on HIV/AIDS, to name but a few.

Most recently, news of a plan to define gender as immutable and determined by one’s genitalia shows just how far this current crop of Republicans are willing to go to destroy the lives of LGBTQ people.

As a result, state and local protections will become increasingly important. While the federal government has shown its anti-LGBTQ worldview loud and clear, as public support for LGBTQ people and our rights continue to grow, and as states and our international allies push to uphold and continue that momentum, the administration might be hesitant to interfere. If this seems far-fetched, there is a parallel in the drug war. While Attorney General Jeff Sessions has talked tough, the administration has not cracked down on states that have legalized marijuana, either for medical or recreational purposes.

Additionally, governors elected this year will oversee redistricting after the 2020 census, making the gubernatorial races even more important. That redistricting will take place in 2022, and will impact the makeup of congressional districts and state legislatures.

Democrats Look Ready to Make Gains

Polling shows Democrats are likely to make gains in gubernatorial races, with RealClearPolitics predicting the party will pick up eight seats.

Democrats are predicted to gain governor’s seats in Florida, Maine, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, and New Mexico.

LGBTQ Candidates in Gubernatorial Races

Among the crop of Democrats hoping to win their gubernatorial races are several LGBTQ candidates looking to pair the blue wave with a rainbow one as well.

Kate Brown, Oregon

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Gov. Kate Brown is running for re-election against Republican challenger Rep. Knute Buehler in Oregon, over whom she holds a narrow lead according to polling. Brown, who is bisexual, became the first openly LGBTQ person to elected as a U.S. governor when she won a special election in 2016.

Christine Hallquist, Vermont

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Christine Hallquist is also looking to make history, running in Vermont to become the nation’s first transgender governor. The businesswoman is facing off against the Republican incumbent, Gov. Phil Scott, in a tight race.

Jared Polis, Colorado

Jared Polis
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Rep. Jared Polis is leading in Colorado’s gubernatorial race against Walker Stapleton, who is currently serving his second term as the state’s treasurer. If elected, Polis will become the first openly gay man elected governor in the United States.

Lupe Valdez, Texas

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Former Sheriff of Dallas County Lupe Valdez is running against incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott, who holds a strong lead over her. Abbott pushed for an anti-trans “bathroom bill” in the past, but has said that is not part of his agenda going forward. However, at a debate against Valdez, he wouldn’t say whether he would sign such legislation if it reached his desk.

If Valdez can pull an upset, she would become the state’s first openly LGBTQ governor, as well as the nation’s first openly LGBTQ Latinx governor.

Click the graphic above to learn about LGBTQ candidates running for office nationwide.

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