Tuesday was a happy night for pro-equality candidates across the country, and the results were no different for the City of Houston candidates.
Nearly all of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus-endorsed candidates won or made it to runoffs in the November 5 municipal election, according to Houston GLBT Political Caucus President Mike Webb. The Caucus, a group founded in 1975 to put LGBTQ-friendly politicians in office, declared support for 17 local candidates in August.
Of the 17 Caucus-endorsed candidates, four won their races and eleven face runoff elections in December.
“Our caucus members and supporters fought hard for pro-equality candidates, and it showed,” Webb says, adding that this year’s Caucus card was the most diverse in history. “Eighty-eight percent of our endorsed candidates either won their elections or made it to runoffs.”
A breakdown of the Caucus-endorsed candidates’ results are listed below:
Robert Gallegos, City Council Member, District I
Martha Castex-Tatum, City Council Member, District K
Chris Brown, City Controller
Judith Cruz, HISD Trustee, District VIII
Sylvester Turner, Mayor
Raj Salhotra, City Council Member, At Large Position 1
David Robinson, City Council Member, At Large Position 2
Janaeya Carmouche, City Council At Large Position 3
Sallie Acorn, City Council At Large Position 5
Monica Flores-Richart, HCC Trustee, District 1
Tarsha Jackson, City Council Member, District B
Shelley Kennedy, City Council Member, District C
Tiffany Thomas, City Council Member, District F
Isabel Longoria, City Council Member, District H
Sandra Rodriguez, City Council Member, District J
Iesha Ayers-Wilson, who ran for the City Council District A seat, lost with 11.83 percent of the vote. City Council District A candidates Amy Peck (nonpartisan) and George Harry Zoes (Republican) face a runoff in December.
Carla Brailey, City Council District D candidate, lost with 12.21 percent of the vote. Carolyn Evans-Shabazz (nonpartisan) and Brad “Scarface” Jordan (unknown) will compete for the City Council District D position in the December runoff election.
In addition to these losses, five of the eight openly-LGBTQ candidates running for Houston City Council positions—Ashton P. Woods, Bill Baldwin, Michelle Ganz, Nelvin Adriatico, and Nick Hellyar—did not win their races.
Gallegos, Hellyar, Adriatico, Kennedy, and Longoria were each endorsed by the LGBTQ Victory Fund. On Tuesday, Gallegos joined the Victory Fund’s “rainbow wave” of over 144 out candidates elected in 2019.
“Anti-LGBTQ attacks on our community almost universally backfired,” Victory Fund President Annise Parker said in a statement. “LGBTQ candidates are winning elections in numbers and in parts of the country thought unthinkable a decade or two ago.”
Heading into the Runoff
Webb says many of the Caucus-endorsed candidates will face anti-LGBTQ opponents in the December runoff election. “This is very concerning,” they admit. “We must get every pro-LGBTQ voter out to the polls. If we don’t, our community [is at risk of several anti-LGBTQ attacks, including rollbacks of legal protections]. There is much at stake.”
Webb, who has worked in every level of government, emphasizes that voting in municipal elections is critical. “It is our local elections that have the most direct impact, as these [lawmakers] must interpret and enforce federal policies,” Webb says. “If you believe in LGBTQ equality, please go out and vote.”
The next Houston GLBT Political Caucus meeting will be held on November 13. Webb invites OutSmart readers to join the Caucus and attend the post-election general-membership meeting, where members will discuss the runoff and endorsing new candidates.
For more information about the Caucus, visit thecaucus.org.