Maloney concedes, but key firsts for LGBTQ candidates on election night

Maura Healey
Massachusetts Gov.-elect Maura Healey speaks during an election night party in Boston.
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Several LGBTQ congressmembers secured re-election victories and there were historic gains from coast to coast on Election Night, but there were mixed results in New York, where out gay Congressmember Sean Patrick Maloney was defeated and an out gay Republican won a Congressional race.

At the same time, queer candidates for New York State Legislature rolled to victory across the board on an evening when Governor Kathy Hochul fended off her Republican opponent, Congressmember Lee Zeldin.

The 2022 midterm election contests are not all settled — including prominent races such as the Senate showdown in Georgia — but results are nonetheless taking shape.

Starting with the House race in New York’s 17th District,  Maloney — who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — conceded to his Republican challenger, Mike Lawler, late in the morning on November 9, capping off a significant upset. Maloney has represented the 18th Congressional District, but set his sights on the 17th after redistricting.

In New York’s Third Congressional District, it was a competition between two out gay candidates from different parties. Democrat Robert Zimmerman, aiming to replace Tom Suozzi, fell to Republican George Santos.

Out gay Congressmember Ritchie Torres of the Bronx grabbed about 75% of the vote en route to an easy victory over Republican Stylo Sapaskis in District 15. The state’s other out gay member of Congress, Mondaire Jones, did not run in the general election after losing the primary in New York’s 10th Congressional District.

In the State Senate, out incumbents Jabari Brisport and Brad Hoylman won their races. Out Assemblymembers Daniel O’Donnell, Deborah Glick, Harry Bronson, and Jessica González-Rojas also won re-election contests and Tony Simone won his first general election as he prepares to take over for retiring Assemblymember Richard Gottfried.

Elsewhere, many out incumbents cruised to victory and there were already a number of historic wins highlighted by the LGBTQ Victory Fund by the morning after the election.

Sharice Davids of Kansas, David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Angie Craig of Minnesota, Mark Pocan of Wisonsin, Chris Pappas of New Hampshire, and Mark Takano of California won new terms. Out candidates who won House races for the first time included Becca Balint of Vermont, who became the state’s first out LGBTQ person and first woman elected to Congress, and Robert Garcia of California, who is the first out immigrant elected to the House, according to the Victory Fund. Meanwhile, Eric Sorensen appeared to win his race for Illinois’ District 17, becoming the first out congressmember from Illinois.

Two other out Democrats — Will Rollins of California and Jamie LcLeod-Skinner of Oregon — are engaged in close races for Congress. Rollins is up slightly, but McLeod-Skinner is trailing by several percentage points.

Notably, Maura Healey of Massachusetts and Tink Kotek of Oregon became the first out lesbian governors in American history after securing victories in their races.

In Colorado, Governor Jared Polis became the first out gay governor to win re-election. In New Hampshire, House candidate James Roesener became the first out trans man to win an election in a State Legislature. In California, Robert Garcia of the 42nd Congressional District won his race to become the first out LGBTQ immigrant elected to Congress.

Among other takeaways, candidates Jennie Armstrong and Andrew Gray won their races for State Legislature in Arkansas, making them the first out state lawmakers in the state. The Victory Fund also welcomed the victory of Corey Jackson as the first out gay Black person elected to California’s State Legislature.

In Michigan, out Attorney General Dana Nessel was re-elected to another term.