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ELECTIONS Guide to the LGBTQ+s
by Andrew Davis
2022-06-19

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This year's primary elections—taking place Tuesday, June 28, although people can vote now—will feature many openly LGBTQ+ candidates throughout Illinois. (However, one notable name will be missing as longtime state Rep. Greg Harris is retiring.) They include:

Karla Bailey-Smith

Race: Illinois state representative (91st District)

Website: https://www.karla4il.org/

The skinny: Bailey-Smith was born in Greencastle, Indiana, and grew up in Moline, Illinois. She earned an undergraduate degree at Illinois Wesleyan University in 1990 and a graduate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1993. In 2017 and 2018, Karla worked to pass the ERA in Illinois. Two years ago, she fell short when running to represent the state's 88th District; she's now in a newly redrawn area.

Deidre Baumann

Race: Cook County Circuit Court (Lynch vacancy)

Website: https://www.facebook.com/BaumannForJudge

The skinny: Baumann has previously run twice for judge, but lost in the 2016 and 2020 Democratic primaries. Baumann told The Southland Journal that she's litigated on a variety of issues for more than three decades, including personal injury, civil rights and employment discrimination.

Precious Brady-Davis

Race: Metropolitan Water Reclamation District commissioner

Website: https://preciousbradydavis.com/preciousformwrd

The skinny: Brady-Davis, the associate regional communications director at the environmental organization Sierra Club, would make history as the first transgender person to ever serve on this board—and has a very catchy motto ("because nothing is more precious than water"). She plans to advocate for additional wetland parks, community landscaping, nature preserves and bike trails.

Kelly Cassidy

Race: Illinois state representative (14th District)

Website: CitizensForCassidy.com

The skinny: Cassidy has served her district since 2011 and is on the Housing, House Human Services and Restorative Justice committees, among others. She is unopposed in the general election.

John Ehlrich

Race: Illinois Appellate Court (Harris vacancy)

Website: ehrlichforjustice.com/

The skinny: If elected, Ehrlich—a current Cook County Circuit Court judge—would be the first out member of the LGBTQ+ community ever elected to a court of appeal in the state. He also has been chief assistant corporation counsel for the City of Chicago as well as an adjunct professor of law at the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law.

Rick Garcia

Race: Metropolitan Water Reclamation District commissioner

Website: https://rickgarciaforwater.com/

The skinny: Longtime LGBTQ+-rights activist Garcia has tackled everything from marriage equality to basic human rights—and now he's turned his attention to the environment. Garcia was inducted into the City of Chicago Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1999, and is a co-founder of Equality Illinois.

Jaylin D. McClinton

Race: Cook County Board of Commissioners (5th District)

Website: https://www.jaylindmcclinton.com/meet-jaylin

The skinny: Born and raised on Chicago's South Side, recent law-school graduate McClinton is running to represent his home area. The 5th District also includes Alsip, Blue Island, Oak Forest, Hazel Crest, Dolton and other cities/neighborhoods. McClinton counts Equality Illinois, the Illinois Senate and House Black caucuses, Personal PAC, state Reps. Kelly Cassidy and Lamont Robinson, and the LGBTQ Victory Fund as those endorsing him. If elected, he would be the first openly LGBTQ+ person of color on the board.

Fernando "Sergio" Mojica

Race: Illinois state representative (13th District)

Website: https://sergioforillinois.com/

The skinny: Soon-to-be-former state Rep. Greg Harris is leaving some huge shoes to fill—and Mojica (a queer, Latino progressive Democrat and educator) is among six Democratic candidates vying to succeed him. Whoever wins this race will be unopposed in the general election to represent this progressive district.

Kevin Morrison

Race: Cook County Board of Commissioners (15th District)

Website: https://www.kevinbmorrison.com/

The skinny: Morrison has already made history as an incumbent, being the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve on the board. Also, when he was elected in 2018, he was 28—and the youngest in history. He was also the first Democrat to represent the district, upsetting the Illinois Republican Party chair. Morrison is currently chair of Cook County's Technology and Innovation Committee as well as the Cook County Forest Preserve District Zoological Committee.

Anthony Joel Quezada

Race: Cook County Board of Commissioners (8th District)

Website: https://anthonyforcookcounty.org/

The skinny: Quezada was born in Chicago and raised in the Logan Square area who is self-described "the proud son of working-class, immigrant parents." He has worked as the neighborhood services director for another LGBTQ+ politician: Chicago Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa. In 2020, Quezada was elected to serve as the 35th Ward Cook County Democratic committeeperson. If elected, he would be the first openly gay Latino to serve on the board.

Lamont Robinson

Race: Illinois state representative (5th District)

Website: https://www.lamontjrobinson.com/

The skinny: Robinson—who runs two Chicago Allstate Insurance offices, in Bronzeville and Humboldt Park—made history as the first openly gay African-American person in the General Assembly. He is running unopposed in the primary and will likely encounter Republican Montelle LaToya Gaji in the general election.

Mike Simmons

Race: Illinois state senate (7th District)

Website: https://www.senatormikesimmons.com/

The skinny: Simmons—a former Windy City Times 30 Under 30 honoree—is the first openly gay member of the Illinois Senate and the third openly gay, Black state senator in the country. He's unopposed in the primary and general elections in his first time on the ballot. (He was chosen to succeed now-former state Sen. Heather Steans on Feb. 6, 2021.)

Eric Sorensen

Race: U.S. House (17th District)

Website: https://www.ericforillinois.com/

The skinny: Sorensen lives in Moline with his partner, Shawn, and two dogs. Sorensen, a longtime meteorologist endorsed by the LGBTQ Victory Fund, is vying for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, who announced her retirement in April 2021. He is one of several candidates in the Democratic primary.

Maggie Trevor

Race: Cook County Board of Commissioners (9th District)

Website: https://maggietrevor4cook.com/

The skinny: Trevor, who identifies as lesbian, fell short when running for the Illinois General Assembly a couple years ago. Trevor was born and raised in Rolling Meadows, where her parents were among the city's original residents.

Brad Trowbridge

Race: Cook County Circuit Court (Gordon vacancy)

Website: https://www.bradforjudge2022.com/

The skinny: In terms of elections, this certainly isn't Trowbridge's first rodeo, having run in 2012, 2018 and 2020 (narrowly losing in the latter). However, the openly gay judicial candidate and progressive Democrat boasts a slew of endorsements, including U.S. Reps. Mike Quigley and Jan Schakowsky, Ald. Tom Tunney, state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, IVI-IPO, state Sen. Sara Feigenholtz and the Chicago chapter of NOW.

Anthony Vega

Race: Lake County clerk

Website: www.votevega.org/

The skinny: Vega may be a Grayslake resident (along with husband Jorge), but he was born on Chicago's Southwest Side and graduated from Curie Metropolitan High School's IB Program. He has worked for Sierra Club Illinois and Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Shakespeare in the Parks program. Currently, Vega is chief of staff of the Lake County sheriff's office.

Michael Weaver

Race: Cook County Circuit Court (Lynch vacancy)

Website: michaelweaverforjudge.com/

The skinny: Weaver—an Edgewater resident in the same race as fellow LGBTQ+ candidate Deidre Baumann—has been found qualified by all local bar associations and boasts many endorsements, including outgoing Illinois House Speaker Greg Harris. He is a partner in the trial department at the full-service law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP as well as a volunteer for a variety of community organizations and initiatives.

Sam Yingling

Race: Illinois state senator (31st District)

Website: https://www.samyinglingforsenate.com/

The skinny: Grayslake resident Yingling is making a jump, as the longtime state rep is running for the state Senate—and his Democratic primary opponent is Mary Edly-Allen, a former state rep herself (2019-21); the winner will take on Republican Adam Solano in the general election. Yingling proposed to longtime partner Lowell Jaffe at the party former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn threw to celebrate the passage of Illinois' marriage-equality bill in 2013. (They married in 2015.)


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