She made history in 1998 when she became the first openly gay candidate elected to the U.S. House. While other gay people had served in Congress, they came out after already winning office.
There are currently four openly gay members of the U.S. House: Baldwin (D-Wisc.), who will move up to the Senate thanks to Tuesday’s vote; U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who did not seek reelection; U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo), who cruised to re-election on Nov. 6 and U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), who won a closer reelection race.
For the new Congress, Polis and Cicilline will be joined in the LGBT Caucus by Mark Takano (D-Calif.), who will be the first openly gay person of color to serve in Congress; Sean Patrick Maloney (D-New York), and Marc Pocan (D- Wisc.), who won the seat Baldwin left open to run for Senate.
At least two openly gay congressional candidates lost on Tuesday: Democrat Nicole LeFavour in Idaho and Republican Richard Tisei in Massachusetts.
One LGBT congressional race, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema’s bid for Arizona’s District 9 seat, remained uncertain at press time Wednesday. Sinema, who would become the first openly bisexual Congress member, led Republican Vernon Parker by about 2,000 votes out of more than 162,000 votes cast.
Top photo: Official photo