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ELECTIONS 2020 Guide to the LGBTQs

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This year's primary elections will feature a record number of openly LGBT candidates throughout Illinois. The list includes:

1. Karla Bailey-Smith

Race: Illinois state representative ( 88th District )


The skinny: Bailey-Smith was born in Greencastle, Indiana. 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. Bailey-Smith's career experience includes working as a painter and scenic artist.

2. Deidre Baumann

Race: Cook County Circuit Court ( C. Sheehan vacancy )

Website: .

The skinny: Baumann has more than 25 years representing people against the government and large corporations, and was lead counsel in the Burr Oak Cemetery litigation. She is currently president of the Suburban Bar Coalition, and serves on the boards of directors for the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago and for the Decalogue Foundation.

3. Kelly Cassidy

Race: Illinois state representative ( 14th District )

Website: .

The skinny: Cassidy, who recently wed activist Candice Gingrich, has served her district since 2011. Seeking to get re-elected, Cassidy is the only openly lesbian member of the General Assembly.

4. Ty Cratic

Race: Illinois state representative ( 9th District )

Website: .

The skinny: Cratic ( a onetime Windy City Times 30 Under 30 honoree ) has been heavily involved in politics for quite some time, although this is his first time running. He is a native Chicagoan and has earned his B.A. degree in political science from Southern Illinois University. Among other accomplishments, Cratic served as senior staff on two Congressional campaigns in Ohio and Georgia, and has worked in the office of Alderman Jason C. Ervin, of Chicago's 28th Ward.

5. James Patrick Crawley

Race: Circuit Court of Cook County ( Countywide Roti vacancy )

Website: .

The skinny: Openly gay Crawley has been endorsed by Personal PAC as well as a number of other organizations. He previously served on the boards of Jane Addams Hull House and AIDS Care.

6. Michelle Darbro

Race: Illinois state representative ( 20th District )

Website: .

The skinny: A Norwood Park resident, Darbro is a career firefighter and paramedic who is a 2015 inductee to the University of Chicago Athletic Hall of Fame.

7. James T. Derico Jr.

Race: Cook County Circuit Court ( Coghlan vacancy )

Website: .

The skinny: Derico is a 1982 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a 1985 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. In December 2018, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed him to serve as a Circuit Court judge for the Circuit Court of Cook County.

8. Michael Forti

Race: Cook County Judicial Circuit Courtve ( 8th Subcircuit/Gubin vacancy )

Website: None

The skinny: Forti is a a judge for the 8th Subcircuit of the Cook County Judicial Circuit Court in Illinois. However, his current term expires Dec. 7, necessitating a run. He faces no opponents in this race.

9. Jimmy Garfield

Race: Illinois state representative ( 12th District )

Website: .

The skinny: Garfield, an attorney, is running on a platform focused on reform in Springfield, and has been vocal about his opposition to longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan.

10. Greg Harris

Race: Illinois state representative ( 13th District )


The skinny: Harris who was chief co-sponsor of SB10, the legislation that brought about marriage equality in Illinois has a district that includes several North Side neighborhoods. Harris ( who was first elected to the state House in 2006, and is the first openly gay person in Illinois to become a member of legislative leadership ) ran unopposed in the March 20 primary.

11. Marty Malone

Race: Illinois state representative ( 12th District )

Website: .

The skinny: Lake View resident Marty Malone is making his first bid for office as one of four openly gay men vying to be the 12th District's House representative. His platform focuses in large part on property tax reform.

12. Mary Cay Marubio

Race: Cook County Circuit Court ( O'Brien vacancy )

Website: .

The skinny: Mary Catherine "Mary Cay" Marubio is currently an associate judge for the Circuit Court of Cook County. Elected by her peers in 2016, she is currently assigned to the Pretrial Division and previously served in the Domestic Relations Division. Also, Marubio is president of the Alliance of Illinois Judges—whose mission is to promote and encourage respect and unbiased treatment for LGBTQ individuals as they relate to the judiciary, the legal profession and the administration of justice.

13. Denika McMillen

Race: Illinois state representative ( 41st District )

Website: .

The skinny: McMillen is a licensed clinical social worker and resident of Naperville. Since moving to Naperville in 2016 with her wife and their three children, McMillen has been an active member of the Diversity Advisory Committee for District 203, Indivisible Naperville and other groups, and was an original board member of the Naper Pride organization.

14. Jacob Meister

Race: Cook County clerk of the Circuit Court

Social media site: "Jacob Meister," on Facebook

The skinny: Branding himself a progressive reformer, Meister has been practicing law in Chicago for almost three decades. He is also the founder of The Civil Rights Agenda, an LGBTQ-advocacy organization.

15. Ken Mejia-Beal

Race: Illinois state representative ( 42nd District )

Website: .

The skinny: First-time political candidate in the DuPage County district, Meija-Beal's platform centers on three major issues he intends to change in his district: halting any revenue increases on alcohol, establishing simpler distribution of affordable insulin and HIV medication, and ending puppy mills in Illinois.

16. Yoni Pizer

Race: Illinois state representative ( 12th District )

Website: .

The skinny: Pizer, a longtime Lake View resident, is a realtor/developer who, with husband Brad Lippitz, has been intensely involved in politics for years, hosting fundraisers for politicians such as Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and president candidate Pete Buttigieg. Pizer was recently named to serve as the acting representative of the district following the departure of Sara Feigenholtz for the state Senate.

17. Ryan Podges

Race: Illinois state representative (12th District)

Website: .

The skinny: There are several gay men running for this Illinois House seat, including Podges and now-current 12th District rep Yoni Pizer, as well as Jimmy Garfield and Marty Malone. Podges, a Chicago attorney, feels there should be more LGBTQ representation in politics, and that the biggest problem for LGBTQs is access to proper healthcare.

18. Jill Rose Quinn

Race: Cook County Court judge ( K. Sheehan vacancy )

Website: .

The skinny: Quinn, a transgender attorney, has private practice experience includes working at general legal practices in Chicago, Bloomington, Lombard, Glen Ellyn and Franklin Park. She has also gotten the backing of several key political figures, including Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

19. Lamont Robinson

Race: Illinois state representative ( 5th District )

Website: .

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. During this primary, he is running unopposed.

20. Brian Sager

Race: Illinois state representative ( 63rd District )

Website: .

The skinny: Sager is a retired college professor and administrator who has been the mayor of Woodstock since 2005. Among his top legislative priorities are economic and job growth as well political ethics and early childhood education.

21. Levander "Van" Smith Jr.

Race: Cook County Circuit Court ( Larson vacancy )

Website: .

The skinny: Smith, an Oak Park resident, is waging his first campaign for Cook County Circuit Court judge—but 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.

22. Maggie Trevor

Race: Illinois state representative (54th District)


The skinny: Trevor, who identifies as lesbian, faces Ryan Huffman in the Democratic primary—with the winner facing Republican incumbent Tom Morrison in the general election in November. Trevor was born and raised in Rolling Meadows, where her parents were among the city's original residents

23. Brad Trowbridge

Race: Circuit Court of Cook County (Fleming vacancy)

Website: .

The skinny: Family-law attorney Brad Trowbridge was a social worker before he became a lawyer. The 2020 race is his third attempt running for a judicial post.

24. Emiliano Vera

Race: Illinois state representative ( 93rd District )


The skinny: Vera is running against Scott Stoll in the Democratic primary in the western Illinois district, which has Republican Norine Hammond as the incumbent. This district is one of 710 state legislative districts throughout the nation that intersects with one or more pivot counties ( those that went from Obama in 2008 and 2012 to Trump in 2016 ).

25. Michael Weaver

Race: Circuit Court of Cook County ( 9th Judicial Subcircuit )

Website: .

The skinny: Weaver is a partner in the trial department at the law firm McDermott Will & Emery LLP, where he is also the partner-in-charge for the LGBTQ+ Diversity and Inclusion Committee. He lives with his husband, Paul, and their pugs, Spooner and Magnum, in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood.

26. Sam Yingling

Race: Illinois state representative ( 62nd District )

Website: .

The skinny: Grayslake resident Yingling ran unopposed in the primary for his fourth term. He is the first openly gay House member from outside metropolitan Chicago. 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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