House Flips with Historic Victories for HRC-Backed, Pro-Equality Candidates Nationwide

Tonight, HRC celebrated historic victories for HRC-endorsed LGBTQ candidates and pro-equality allies in key races across the nation. Dozens of HRC-backed candidates declared victory tonight, following 18 months of unprecedented engagement and voter mobilization in more than 70 congressional races and key state-level races from governor to state legislature in 23 states from coast-to-coast.

In the summer of 2017, the Human Rights Campaign launched HRC Rising, the largest grassroots expansion in the organization’s 38-year history. Since then, HRC has endorsed more than 480 pro-equality candidates nationwide, and deployed 150 staff to organize and mobilize voters in more than 70 congressional, targeted senate and key statewide races across 23 states. HRC also backed more women and people of color than in any election cycle in its history: 45 percent of HRC’s endorsees were women — including 55 percent of non-incumbent candidates — and nearly one-third were people of color.

Tonight, a record number of LGBTQ lawmakers were elected at all levels. Notably, Senator Tammy Baldwin was re-elected to the U.S. Senate. Jared Polis became the first openly gay man to be elected governor in the United States. Oregon Governor Kate Brown, the first LGBTQ governor in history, was re-elected. Sharice Davids became the first gay Native American lawmaker in Congress. And a record number of out LGBTQ candidates were elected and re-elected to the U.S. Congress.

HRC helped register more than 32,000 voters and recruited more than 4,200 volunteers, who worked over 8,500 shifts and clocked more than 30,000 volunteer hours. In the critical final four days of the campaign, HRC staff and volunteers in get-out-the-vote efforts alone knocked on more than 80,000 doors, and held 36,400 conversations with voters at their doors and by phone on behalf of our endorsed candidates.

Since June, HRC President Chad Griffin has barnstormed the country campaigning for 50 pro-equality candidates at more than 70 events in 47 cities across 23 states.

“Tonight, millions of LGBTQ voters and allies across the nation rejected the politics of hate and fear and put Donald Trump and Mike Pence on notice,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The days of attacking LGBTQ people for political gain are over, and the American people will not stand for lawmakers who try to drum up votes by trafficking in hate. Thanks to millions of Americans who stood up and fought back, we have succeeded in restoring a sane, pro-equality majority to the House and placing a check on this administration’s hateful agenda. To the 3 million members of the Human Rights Campaign who have worked tirelessly for the last 18 months to out-organize and out-mobilize anti-LGBTQ extremists nationwide, thank you for making history tonight. Together we have sent a loud and clear message that if you come for us, then we will come for you on Election Day.”

HRC’s unprecedented grassroots mobilization represented an investment of approximately $26 million to  recruit volunteers, mobilize constituents, register voters and grow the organization’s grassroots army in an all-out effort to pull the emergency brake on the hateful anti-LGBTQ agenda of the Trump-Pence administration and elect a Congress that would hold them accountable.

HRC’s Equality Votes PAC spent $3.2 million to drive turnout through direct mail and digital ads in priority races including Senator Tammy Baldwin, Jacky Rosen, Kyrsten Sinema, Harley Rouda, Mike Levin, and Representatives-elect Sharice Davids and Angie Craig. HRC also invested in six-figure GOTV ads in Georgia and Florida. Through tested digital ads, HRC was able to reach a total of 4.6 million voters across priority races.

We also celebrate a historic victory in Massachusetts where voters upheld non-discrimination protections for transgender people in public spaces. Question 3 – which asked voters whether to maintain a 2016 law protecting transgender people from discrimination in critical public accommodations including restaurants, hotels, hospitals, stores and public transportation – was the first time gender identity non-discrimination protections were on a statewide ballot independent of protections based on sexual orientation. HRC serves as a founding executive committee member of Freedom for All Massachusetts, a coalition of national and state equal rights organizations, which led the successful Yes on 3 Campaign.

Over the last two years, the Trump-Pence administration has relentlessly attacked the LGBTQ community, from a “license-to-discriminate” executive order to revoking protections for transgender students to unconscionably attempting to ban brave transgender troops from serving openly. Within the last two weeks, the New York Times reported that the administration was secretly planning to redefine “sex” to exclude transgender people in an intentional effort to eliminate federal nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people. A list of the administration’s attacks over the last two years can be found here.

HRC has released a number of statements on major victories for top HRC-backed candidates. 

Read more

Mike Pence and Scott Walker’s Politically Toxic, Anti-LGBTQ Agenda is Wrong for Wisconsin

HRC is highlighting the anti-LGBTQ records of Vice President Mike Pence and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who are scheduled to campaign together today in Eau Claire. With deeply disturbing records undermining equality and peddling extremist ideologies, Pence and Walker both have made virulent anti-LGBTQ activism a cornerstone of their political careers, and remain out of touch with a majority of Wisconsin voters, who overwhelmingly support LGBTQ equality. 

“Mike Pence and Scott Walker’s extremist, discriminatory agendas pose a threat to Wisconsin and the nation,” said HRC Wisconsin State Director Wendy Strout. “From their opposition to marriage equality to their efforts to license discrimination against LGBTQ people, they do not represent Wisconsin values and our state’s more than 560,000 Equality Voters. With less than 30 days until the crucial midterm elections, HRC is mobilizing its hundreds of thousands of members and supporters in Wisconsin to reject the politics of hate and elect a pro-equality Governor in November.”

Here’s a snapshot of how Pence and Walker have undermined LGBTQ equality:

  • Long history of opposing marriage equality: Walker supported Wisconsin’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality, vetoed a bill to give domestic partner benefits to workers and tried to kill a domestic partner registry. While in Congress, Pence proposed a constitutional amendment that would have imposed a federal ban on marriage in every state.
  • Support banning qualified transgender people from serving in the military: Pence is a lead architect of the effort to ban transgender troops, has rallied anti-equality leaders to support it and, with his staff, lobbied Congress to pass an amendment banning transition-related care for transgender servicemembers. Walker has said he “wouldn’t change” the Trump-Pence  ban on transgender service members.
  • Support a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people: In 2015, Pence’s bigotry received national attention when he signed a bill that could have given businesses, organizations, and individuals a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people in employment, housing, education, and health care, as well as in access to services almost anywhere in the public square. Though the effort prompted widespread condemnation from both sides of the political aisle, Walker expressed support for the “principle” of Pence’s attempt to legalize discrimination.
  • Long history of opposing access to affordable health care: During his time in Congress, Pence was a leading voice opposing passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and voted to repeal the ACA —also known as Obamacare— in part or in full, more than 30 times. He also signed one of the nation’s most restrictive anti-abortion laws which was later blocked by a federal judge and in 2017, he cast a tie-breaking vote to strip protections for reproductive health care. As governor, Walker rejected Medicaid expansion under Obamacare and also supported repeal of the entire law, which could have stripped health care from millions of Wisconsinites, including the 2.4 million Wisconsin residents with a pre-existing condition.

HRC’s comprehensive “The Real Mike Pence” campaign includes a report, microsite and series of videos that shine a spotlight on Pence’s decades-long crusade against LGBTQ equality, and inside-the-White House efforts leading the Trump-Pence administration’s attacks on LGBTQ people, including those who bravely serve our nation in the military. It lays out his long record of support for the abusive practice of so-called “conversion therapy;” his relentless pursuit of a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people; his attempts to block hate crime legislation and funding for HIV and AIDS prevention; and his efforts to undermine access to health and reproductive care essential to LGBTQ people. He also keeps busy with his extremist agenda by working to undermine science, health, transparency, education, justice and public safety.

In Wisconsin, HRC has identified more than 560,000 million “Equality Voters” — voters who support LGBTQ-inclusive policies. HRC has prioritized investments and organizing in Wisconsin in the 2018 cycle, and has staff and resources on the ground in the state as part of the largest grassroots expansion in the organization’s 38-year history.

Read more

HRC Endorses Ben Jealous for Maryland Governor

HRC announced its endorsement of Ben Jealous (D) in his bid to become the next governor of Maryland.

“Ben Jealous is a proven leader with the vision and commitment needed to continue moving Maryland forward as a welcoming and inclusive state,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “As a longtime civil rights champion, Ben is passionately committed to putting people over politics and fighting to expand and protect the civil rights of every individual. HRC is proud to endorse Ben Jealous for governor, and we look forward to working with him to advance LGBTQ equality.”

“In 2012, as national President of the NAACP, I worked closely with the Human Rights Campaign to help make marriage equality law in our state, mobilizing hundreds of thousands of Marylanders to the polls,” said Ben Jealous. “Today, as the Trump administration continues to roll back protections for the LGBTQ+ community, we need leaders at the state level to protect civil rights and civil liberties. I’m proud to receive the endorsement of HRC and as governor, I look forward to working with them to move all our families forward.”

Ben Jealous has extensive experience as a non-profit executive, serving as the past president of the Rosenberg Foundation, and the founding director of Amnesty International’s U.S. Domestic Human Rights Program. At age 35, he was named the youngest ever National President and CEO of the NAACP. During the depths of a national recession, Jealous guided the NAACP through an unprecedented era of growth. He used his background as a community organizer and executive to press the NAACP forward in expanding and protecting the civil rights of all Americans. Throughout his NAACP tenure, Jealous worked with governors from California to Iowa, developing plans to help end mass incarceration and expand civil rights, and helped to pass numerous landmark pieces of legislation during President Obama’s first term in office. In 2013, he was named Marylander of the Year by the Baltimore Sun for helping to lead the successful efforts to abolish the death penalty, pass marriage equality, pass the DREAM Act, and expand voting rights.

In Maryland, HRC has identified more than 1.7 million “Equality Voters,” meaning they are strong supporters of progressive LGBTQ policies including marriage equality, equitable family law, and laws that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Last year, HRC announced a coast-to-coast campaign to mobilize voters for the midterm elections called HRC Rising, which represents the largest grassroots expansion in the organization’s 38-year history.

Authority: Friends of Ben Jealous, Jason Small, Treasurer.

Paid for by Human Rights Campaign PAC ( and not authorized or approved by any federal candidate or candidate’s committee.

Read more