LGBT candidates in the midterm elections leading the Rainbow Wave

A sticker marks the 2018 midterm elections

The Democratic Party hopes to paint Congress in blue at the midterm elections—but there is more than one colour in the spectrum of candidates hoping to win political office on November 6.

A so-called ‘Rainbow wave’ of openly LGBT+ candidates is running for major political office in the upcoming elections, which will call voters to the ballots to fill all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, 33 seats in the Senate seats and pick 34 state Governors.

LGBT+ people are severely underrepresented across all levels of politics in the US. The 21 openly LGBT+ candidates running for the House of Representatives, the two in the run for Senate seats, and the four hoping to win their state’s gubernatorial race could be about to break barriers on November 6.

In a sign of the extreme political divide on LGBT+ issues, all 27 of the out LGBT+ candidates are Democrats, with no Republican candidates running for major political office publicly identifying as LGBT+.

University of North Carolina politics professor Andrew Reynolds, an expert on LGBT+ representation in politics, is however cautious in predicting widespread electoral success for the Rainbow Wave, telling PinkNews that “small increases” in LGBT+ representation are the most likely outcome.

For several LGBT+ candidates, their close-fought races continue to hang in the balance ahead of election day. PinkNews took a look at the most closely-watched races.

Tammy Baldwin (Senate, Wisconsin)

US Democratic Senator from Wisconsin Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay senator (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty)

Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin was the first-ever out member of the US Senate when she was first elected in 2012.

Baldwin co-chairs the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, and has championed LGBT+ rights across her six years in the Senate to date.

The only Democrat who holds statewide office in Wisconsin, Baldwin is facing a challenge from Republican state lawmaker Leah Vukmir, an opponent of LGBT+ rights.

The Human Rights Campaign notes that Vukmir “has repeatedly taken extreme positions far outside the mainstream,” and has derailed efforts to pass common sense protections for LGBT+ people in the state, including protections for LGBT+ youth facing discrimination and bullying at school.

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