As of 11 p.m. on Nov. 5, the race for U.S. president between Joe Biden and current Chief Executive Donald Trump was still considered too close to call. Biden had a 253-213 lead regarding electoral votes, and he had taken an overnight lead in Georgia (which has 16 votes).
The winner needs 270 electoral votes to secure the presidency.
However, across the country, LGBTQs made their mark on Nov. 3. LGBTQ Victory Fund noted, among other things, that candidates Mondaire Jones (NY-17) and Ritchie Torres (NY-15) won their U.S. House races and will become the first two openly LGBTQ Black members of Congress (representing New York state) when they take office in January. They will also be just the second and third openly LGBTQ men of color to serve in the U.S. Congressthe first being U.S. Rep. Mark Takano, of California. Florida state Rep. Shevrin Jones won his race for the Florida state Senate and became the first openly LGBTQ person ever elected to the upper chamber. And Mauree Turner won their race for the Oklahoma state House, becoming the first openly non-binary person ever elected to a state legislature in the United States.
Also, Sarah McBride won her election for the Delaware state Senate, becoming the first out transgender person ever elected to a state senate seat in the country. The victory came just three years after Danica Roem became the first out trans person to ever win and be seated in a state legislature, winning a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, LGBTQ Victory Fund noted. In addition, Taylor Small won her election for the Vermont state House, becoming the first out transgender person ever elected to the Vermont state legislature; and Stephanie Byers won her election, becoming the first out transgender person ever elected to the Kansas state House and the first out trans person of color ever elected to a state legislature in the country.
And history has also been made in Illinois, where Jill Rose Quinn has become the state's first openly transgender judge, running unopposed in the Cook County Judicial Circuit (vacancy of K. Sheehan). Quinn will be one of just two openly trans judges currently serving in the country, and just the fourth in U.S. history. In April, Quinn told Windy City Times, "It's historyand it's a real victory for the state and the county, in that people can say "We voted for this person." Five years ago, late-night comedians made jokes about transgender people, you know? Now, I will have one of the most respected positions in governmentit's astounding. And it's about time."
Longtime U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin won a fifth term in the Senate. Durbin won 52.42% of the vote against Republican challenger Mark C. Curran's 40.61%. Willie Wilson (4.17%), David F. Black (.92%) and Danny Malouf (1.89%) also competed for the seat. Durbin has long been an ally to the LGBTQ community.
In House races, incumbent U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-1) defeated challenger Philanise White (70.35-29.65%). U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly also defeated challenger Theresa J. Raborn (75.59-24.41%).
Marie Newman achieved her longtime goal of winning office representing the 3rd District. Newman previously attempted to wrest the seat from anti-LGBTQ Democrat Dan Lipinski and was defeated. In the current race, she finally defeated Republican Mike Fricilone (52.79-47.21%).
U.S. Rep. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia (D-4) defeated challenger Jesus Solorio 82.98-17.02%, while U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-5) (70.12) defeated challengers Tommy Hanson (27.35) and Thomas Wilda (2.53).
In the 7th District, U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (80.1%) held his seat against challenges from Republican Craig Cameron (13.75%) and independent Tracy Jennings (6.15%). U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-9) defeated her opponent Sargis Sangari 67.53-32.47).
As of press time, the outcomes of two closely watched races had not yet been determined. Jim Oberweis' challenge to incumbent 14th District Representative Lauren Underwood and anti-LGBTQ politician Jeanne Ives' challenge to Rep. Sean Casten's 6th District seat were nearly tied. Both Underwood and Casten flipped their district in 2018.
State legislative races
Among incumbents in the state senate who were unchallenged this election cycle and returning to office are state Sens. Antonio "Tony" Munoz (D-1), Kimberly Lightford (D-4), Sara Feigenholtz (D-6), Heather Steans (D-7), Robert Peters (D-13), Jacqueline Collins (D-16) and Laura Murphy (D-28).
Area incumbent state senators whose seats were challenged included Robert Martwick (D-10), who appeared to have defeated Anthony Beckman (50.1-49.9%) by press time in a close contest, and Celina Villanueva (D-11) who defeated Mary Ellen Brown 78.2-28.1%.
Incumbent state House members who went unchallenged include Aaron Ortiz (D-1), Theresa Mah (D-2), Eva Dina Delgado (D-3), Delia Ramirez (D-4), Lamont Robinson, Jr. (D-5), Sonya Marie Harper (D-6), La Shawn K. Ford (D-8), Lakesia Collins (D-9), Jawaharial "Omar" Williams (D-10), Ann Williams (D-11), House Majority Leader Greg Harris (D-13), Kelly Cassidy (D-14), John D'Amico (D-15), Denyse Wang Stoneback (D-16), Edgar Gonzalez, Jr. (D-21), House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-22), Michale Zalewski (D-23), Elizabeth "Lisa" Hernandez (D-24), Curtis J. Tarver II (D-25), Kam Buckner (D-26), Justin Q. Slaughter (D-27), Robert "Bob" Rita (D-28), Thaddeus Jones (D-29), Mary E. Flowers (D-31), Andre Thapedi (D-32), Marcus C. Evans, Jr. (D-33), Nicholas "Nick" Smith (D-34), Kelly M. Burke (D-36), Will Guzzardi (D-39) and Jaime M. Andrade, Jr. (D-40).
Margaret Croke, after winning the 12th District democratic primary last winter, ran unopposed in the general election. She'll take over the spot vacated in 2019 by state Sen. Sara Feigenholtz, which has been filled since then by activist/ businessman Yoni Pizer.
In contested House races, incumbent Lindsey LaPointe (D-19) (55.3%) defeated Jeff Muehlfelder (41.3%) and Joseph Schreiner (3.4%). Additionally, GOP incumbent Brad Stephens (D-20) defeated challenger Michelle Darbro (58.6-41.4%).
In the 35th District, incumbent Frances Hurley (D) fended off a challenge from Herbert Hebein (61.3-38.7%). Incumbent Martin Moylan (D-55) also defeated Libertarian challenger Glenn Olofson 68.2-31.8%. Lastly, Democratic incumbent Camille Lilly (D-78) defeated Libertarian Joshua Flynn (80.9-19.1%).
Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx seemingly fended an aggressive challenge Republican challenger Patrick O'Brien, appearing to defeat him 53.2%-40.2%. Libertarian Brian Dennehy garnered 6.6% of the vote. Iris Martinez meanwhile appeared to be taking over the post of Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court. Martinez, a Democrat, defeated Republican opponent Barbara Bellar 71.2-28.8%.
In the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Chicago race, incumbents Kimberly Neely Dubuclet (28.6%) and Cameron Davis (25.3%) held on to their seats, and will be joined by newcomer Eira Corral Sepulveda (22.8%).
LGBTQs in Illinois
Here is how LGBTQ candidates fared, statewide (again, as of 11 p.m. on Nov. 3). In areas outside Chicago, the news was generally not good for those candidates:
Karla Bailey-Smith: Running for Illinois state representative (88th District), Bailey-Smith came up short against GOP incumbent Keith Sommer.
Dani Brzozowski: Brzozowski ran to represent Illinois' 16th Congressional District, but fell to Republican incumbent Adam Kinzinger.
Kody Czerwonka: In a race for Illinois state representative (110th District), Czerwonka also came up short, to Republican incumbents Chris Miller.
The skinny: Kody was born in Montrose, Illinois, and graduated from high school in 2011 as well as Eastern Illinois University in 2017. He's pitted against incumbent Republican state Rep. Chris Miller.
Michelle Darbro: In the race for Illinois state representative (20th District), GOP incumbent Brad Stephens defeated Darbro.
Michael Forti: Forti faced no opponents in the contest for Cook County Judicial Circuit Court (8th Subcircuit/Gubin vacancy).
Jackie Gunderson: Gunderson was running for a spot on the McLean County Board (9th District). At last report, the race is still up in the air. Gunderson trailed Republican incumbent Susan Schafer by 503 votes, or 53% to 47%. "We've decided there's not enough information for us to make a decision at this time," Gunderson told WGLT.org .
Greg Harris: Harris was first elected to the Illinois General Assembly in 2006, is Majority Leader of the House of Representativesand will continue in those roles, as he didn't face any opponents.
Val Laymon: Laymon was running for a spot on the McLean County Board (7th District). According to WGLT.org, Republican incumbent Jacob Beard led Democratic challenger Laymon in District 7 by 11 votes after the ballots were counted Nov. 3. Provisional ballots and mail-in ballots returned after Election Day will be counted during a vote canvassing Nov. 17.
Ken Mejia-Beal: Mejia-Beal's race for Illinois state representative (42nd District) against controversial Republican incumbent Amy Grant ended with him losing, 52%-48$.
Jill Rose Quinn: Quinn has made history as the state's first trans judge, as she is running unopposed.
Lamont Robinson: The first openly gay African-American person in the state General Assembly held on to his seat. He ran unopposed.
Brian Sager: Running against GOP incumbent Steven Reick for Illinois state representative (63rd District), Sager (mayor of Woodstock) lost 55%-45%
Levander "Van" Smith Jr.: Smith, an Oak Park resident, won his first campaign for Cook County Circuit Court judgealthough he already sits on the bench. In February 2019, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed Smith as a judge ( in the domestic-violence division ), with a term set to expire Dec. 7, 2020.
Maggie Trevor: In the race for Illinois state representative (54th District), Trevor lost to GOP incumbent Thomas Morrison, 55%-45%.
Sam Yingling: In the contest for Illinois state representative (62nd District), Democratic incumbent Yingling prevailed against Republican Jim Walsh, 54%-46%.