While voters were waiting for the Republican "red wave" predicted by pundits and pollsters for the 2022 midterm elections, LGBTQ candidates created a "rainbow wave" with wins across the country.
One of those historic wins was by Maura Healey, who was declared the winner of Massachusetts’ gubernatorial race and will become the first out lesbian governor in U.S. history.
After her race was called, Healey dedicated her victory to “every little girl and every young LGBTQ person out there.”
“I hope tonight shows you that you can be whatever, whoever you want to be. And nothing and no one can ever get in your way except your own imagination, and that’s not going to happen," she said during her victory speech on Tuesday night. "Tonight, to all of you out there, with the help of so many, we made history. I stand before you tonight proud to be the first woman and first gay person ever elected governor of Massachusetts."
Healey previously made history in 2014 when she was the first openly gay state attorney general. As NBC News reports, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, who is bisexual, "became the first openly LGBTQ person to be elected governor in 2015, and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis became the first openly gay man to be elected governor in 2018." Polis won re-election last night with the race being called shortly after polls closed in Colorado.
According to the LGBTQ Victory Fund: "At least 340 out LGBTQ candidates running in the 2022 midterms have won their elections as of 2:00am, the most in U.S. history and surpassing the previous record of 336 set in 2020. More victories are expected in the coming days."
“Tonight’s Rainbow Wave is a clear rebuke to the increased homophobia and transphobia sweeping our communities – and proves voters want to elect qualified LGBTQ leaders," Albert Fujii, Victory Fund press secretary, told USA Today. "With so much at stake this election, from the future of marriage equality to abortion, LGBTQ candidates’ grit and exceptional grassroots support is paying off.”
LGBTQ candidates won their races from coast to coast, including some notable victories like Democrat James Roesener, who was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives, becoming the first openly transgender man to win in any state legislature election.
While Democrat Becca Balint was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming the first woman and openly gay person to represent Vermont in Congress.
“Bigots tried their best to undermine our political power – but their hate backfired and motivated more LGBTQ people to run and win than ever before," Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund said in a statement. "Tonight’s Rainbow Wave is a clear rebuke to the increased homophobia and transphobia sweeping our communities – and proves voters want to elect qualified LGBTQ leaders. With so much at stake this election, from the future of marriage equality to abortion, LGBTQ candidates’ grit and exceptional grassroots support is paying off.”