FLORIDA: Historic Wins For Black LGBTQ Candidates In State Senate Race
Updated: Aug 21, 2020
Early results from Florida's primary Senate race are in and two Black LGBTQ candidates are declaring victory. Shevrin Jones (D-District 101) will make history in the fall as the first openly gay Black man elected to the Florida Senate, winning his primary race by a huge margin and defeating former State Senator Daphne Campbell whose legislative record included hateful anti-LGBTQ positions.
The Miami Herald reports that Jones will face write-in opponent Darien Hill in November, an independent who has been essentially inactive in the race.
The Victory Fund, a national LGBTQ political organization whose mission is dedicated to electing openly LGBTQ people notes that Jones' race was not easy to win. To make history, he had to defeat two known bigots at the ballot box.
"Shevrin beat one candidate who ran on a “Families First” platform and another who claimed: “The gay people have their rights. I have my rights.” In the final days of the campaign, homophobic text messages were sent to voters slandering Shevrin and a fake robocall implied President Obama endorsed his opponent. But Shevrin sent these two bigots packing!," writes Sean Meloy, The Victory Fund Senior Political Director in a press release to Living Out Loud 2.0.
In another historic primary win, if successful in the general election, Michele Rayner (D-District 70) will become the first Black queer woman ever elected to any office in the state of Florida. A civil rights attorney, Rayner beat three other Democratic candidates to win the state House District 70 seat, which includes portions of Sarasota and Manatee counties.
According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, with no Republicans running, Rayner won the heavily-Democratic seat in the primary with 31% of the vote, beating attorney Keisha Bell, legislative aide Michelle Grimsley and nonprofit founder Mark Oliver.
"In an era of racist rhetoric from Donald Trump, the election of openly LGBTQ Black candidates is an inspiration for everyone who values equality and justice," said Nadine Smith, Executive Director of Equality Florida in a press release to Living Out Loud 2.0.
"Representation matters and these wins give LGBTQ Floridians new and critical seats at the table in the Florida legislature," added Smith.