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Illinoisans among 39 Victory Fund endorsements for 2019/2020

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LGBTQ Victory Fund—the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office—endorsed 39 more openly LGBTQ candidates for 2019 and 2020 races, including three incumbent members of Congress.

Included in the newest group of endorsed candidates are Ken Mejia-Beal, who is running for Illinois state rep in the 42nd District; and Levander "Van" Smith Jr., who is an at-large candidate running for Circuit Court judge of Cook County.

Mejia-Beal is running against Republican Amy L. Grant in the general election next November; currently, no other Democrats are running against him in the primary.

Smith, an Oak Park resident, brings 26 years legal service to the bench, focusing most of his career fighting to protect children and families.

Mejia-Beal and Smith are both Victory Fund runoff candidates. Incumbent candidates getting the group's backing include Arizona state Rep. Cesar Chavez, U.S. Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minnesota), U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas), Maine state Rep. Ryan Fecteau and California state Assemblyman Evan Low, among others.

A Windy City Times interview with Mejia-Beal is at .

Full LGBTQ Victory Fund press release:

Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Fund, the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office, endorsed 39 openly LGBTQ candidates for 2019 and 2020 races — including three incumbent members of Congress.

The list includes Levander "Van" Smith, Jr. for Illinois Circuit Court Judge of Cook County, At-Large, and Ken Meija-Beal, Illinois House of Representatives, District 42.

More openly LGBTQ candidates will run for office in 2020 than in any previous election year, surpassing the more than 700 candidates who ran in the "Rainbow Wave" of 2018. Victory Fund has endorsed 66 LGBTQ candidates for 2020 so far.

Among the many opportunities for 2020 is increasing LGBTQ representation in state legislatures throughout the country. Victory Fund endorsed six candidates for the Florida state legislature today, including state Representative Shevrin Jones, who is running to become the first openly LGBTQ person elected to the Florida state Senate. Representation in the state legislature would double from three members to six if the endorsed candidates are victorious in 2020.

Victory Fund also endorsed two non-incumbent candidates for the Texas House of Representatives: Ann Johnson and Eric Holguin. Along with Texas state House candidate Eliz Markowitz — who Victory Fund endorsed in a special election and is now headed to a runoff in January — representation in the Texas state legislature would increase from five to nine members if all are successful. Last month Victory Fund endorsed Shawn Terry, a non-incumbent also running for the Texas state House.

View today's media releases about the Texas state legislative candidates or the Florida state legislative candidates.

"An unprecedented number of LGBTQ people will run for office in 2020 — potentially making the Rainbow Wave of 2018 look more like a ripple," said Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund. "In 2020, we will endorse more candidates than at any time in our 28-year history, with opportunities to dramatically increase LGBTQ representation in state legislatures and elect a historic number of LGBTQ people to Congress. We have out LGBTQ candidates running in parts of the country where none have run before, transforming perceptions of LGBTQ people in these communities. This coming year we will build LGBTQ political power like never before — and these 39 newly endorsed candidates are the backbone are the ones who will make it happen."

The complete list of candidate endorsements announced today is below:

2019 Runoff Candidate Endorsements:

Kurtis Purtee

, Savannah ( GA ) City Council, District 6, Runoff: 12/3/19

Evangeline Beechler, Caldwell City ( ID ) Council, Seat 6, Runoff: 12/3/19

2020 General Candidate Endorsements:

Justin Bramhall, Kentucky House of Representatives, District 79, Primary: 5/12/20 General: 11/3/20

Peter Burgelis, Milwaukee ( WI ) Common Council, District 11, Primary: 2/18/20 General: 4/7/20

Gabriela De Jesus, Florida House of Representatives, District 116, Primary: 8/18/20 General: 11/3/20

Laurie Eiserloh, Travis County ( TX ) Attorney, Primary: 3/3/20 General: 11/3/20

Javier Estevez, Florida House of Representatives, District 105, Primary: 8/18/20 General: 11/3/20

Eric Holguin, Texas House of Representatives, District 32, Primary: 3/3/20 General: 11/3/20

Ann Johnson, Texas House of Representatives, District 134, Primary: 3/3/20 General: 11/3/20

Shevrin Jones, Florida State Senate, District 35, Primary: 8/18/20 General: 11/3/20

Ricky Junquera, Florida House of Representatives, District 118, Primary: 8/18/20 General: 11/3/20

Terra Lawson-Remer, San Diego County Board of Supervisors, District 3, Primary: 3/3/20 General: 11/3/20

Ken Meija-Beal, Illinois House of Representatives, District 42, Primary: 3/17/20 General: 11/3/20

Levander "Van" Smith, Jr., Circuit Court Judge of Cook County ( IL ), At-Large, Primary 3/17/20 General: 11/3/20

Marque Snow, Nebraska Legislature, District 9, Primary: 5/12/20 General: 11/3/20

Phillip Westry, Baltimore City Council, District 12, Primary: 4/28/20 General: 11/3/20

2020 Incumbent Candidate Endorsements:

Jasmine Beach-Ferrara,Buncombe County ( NC ) Commission, District 1

, Primary: 3/3/20 General: 11/3/20

Lisa Bunker, New Hampshire House of Representatives, Rockingham District 18 Primary: 9/8/20 General: 11/3/20

Cesar Chavez, Arizona House of Representatives, District 29, Primary: 8/4/20 General: 11/3/20

Daniel Corona, Mayor of West Wendover ( NV ), General: 11/3/20

Angie Craig, US House of Representatives, MN-2, Primary: 3/3/20 General: 11/3/20

Sharice Davids, US House of Representatives, KS-3, Primary: 8/4/20 General: 11/3/20

Ryan Fecteau, Maine House of Representatives, District 11, Primary: 6/9/20 General: 11/3/20

Steven Glassman, Fort Lauderdale ( FL ) Commissioner, District 2, General: 11/3/20

Carlos Guillermo Smith, Florida House of Representatives, District 49, Primary: 8/18/20 General: 11/3/20

Brad Hoylman, New York State Senate, District 27, Primary: 6/23/20 General: 11/3/20

Celia Israel, Texas House of Representatives, District 50, Primary: 3/3/20 General: 11/3/20

Steven Kirkland, Judge, 334th District Court ( TX ), Primary: 3/3/20 General: 11/3/20

Rebecca Kislak, Rhode Island House of Representatives, District 4, Primary: 9/15/20 General: 11/3/20

Evan Low, California State Assembly, District 28, Primary: 3/3/20 General: 11/3/20

Chris Pappas, US House of Representatives, NH-1, Primary: 2/11/20 General: 11/3/20

Devon Reese, Reno City ( NV ) Council, At-Large, Primary: 6/9/20 General: 11/3/20

Benjamin Reynolds, Johnson City Village ( NY ) Board, General: 11/3/20

Susan Ruiz, Kansas House of Representatives, District 23, Primary: 8/4/20 General: 11/3/20

Jennifer Smith, Criminal Court Division IV, 20th Judicial District ( TN ), Primary: 3/3/20 General: 8/6/20

Brianna Titone, Colorado House of Representatives, District 27, Primary: 3/3/20 General: 11/5/20

Jennifer Webb, Florida House of Representatives, District 69 Primary: 8/18/20 General: 11/3/20

Scott Wiener, California State Senate, District 11, Primary: 3/3/20 General: 11/3/20

Les Zendle, Desert ( CA ) Healthcare District Director General: 11/3/20

More information about the candidates is available at Since 1991, Victory Fund has helped thousands of openly LGBTQ candidates win local, state and federal elections.

—From a LGBTQ Victory Fund press release

LGBTQ Victory Fund works to change the face and voice of America's politics and achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government. .

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