Human Rights Campaign Congratulates Two Florida LGBTQ Candidates on Primary Victories

by HRC Staff

Two Human Rights Campaign-endorsed Florida legislative candidates won their primaries, both of whom are LGBTQ candidates of color.

Last night, two Human Rights Campaign-endorsed Florida legislative candidates won their primaries, both of whom are LGBTQ candidates of color. These two victories include Shevrin James (SD-35) and Representative-elect Michele Rayner (HD-70).

Florida is one of 29 states in the country that lack explicit state-level protections for LGBTQ people, who total 770,000 in the state. Should he win in November, Shevrin Jones will become the first black queer person elected to the Florida State Senate after he made history becoming the first black queer person in the Florida House of Representatives.

In response, HRC Associate Regional Campaign Director Ryan Wilson issued the following statement:

“The fight for LGBTQ equality is going strong in Florida. Congratulations to Shevrin Jones and now Representative-elect Michele Rayner, both of whom are ready to deliver on their promise for greater protections and equality as leaders in Tallahassee should they win in November. It’s long past time to end the patchwork of protections across the state of Florida for 770,000 LGBTQ Floridians who deserve equality under the law. Last night’s victories show that voters in Florida and all across America are rejecting anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and candidates in favor of a more inclusive, diverse future. HRC is proud to support these leaders for change, and over the next 75 days, we are excited to work with them and the full slate of HRC-endorsed candidates to engage the over 3.9 million Equality Voters in Florida and deliver pro-equality majorities in the Florida state legislature and electoral victories up and down the ticket.”

Ryan Wilson, HRC Associate Regional Campaign Director

HRC-endorsed legislative candidates advancing to the November election include:

  • Shevrin Jones for State Senate (SD-35)
  • Carlos Guillermo Smith for State House (HD-49)
  • Jennifer Webb for State House (HD-69)
  • Ricky Junquera for State House (HD-118)
  • Joshua Hicks for State House (HD-11)

In the 2018 midterms, HRC mobilized our grassroots army of 3.2 million members, supporters, and volunteers to work on behalf of pro-equality candidates and engage pro-equality voters primarily in six key states: Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. This unprecedented grassroots mobilization worked to recruit and train volunteers, register and mobilize voters and grow the organization's political organizing efforts in order to pull the emergency brake on the hateful anti-LGBTQ agenda of the Trump-Pence administration and elect a Congress that would hold them accountable.

In 2020, our engagement and mobilization efforts have only deepened. In addition to our expansive volunteer network, HRC will have at least 51 full-time staff in seven priority states (Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin) and an additional 26 staff focused on a second tier of states, including Florida. While in person organizing has been limited by the COVID-19 pandemic, HRC has embraced digital organizing, launching a new tool called TEAM allowing our broad network of volunteers and steering committees to engage their networks personally and hundreds of virtual phone banks and text banks to engage pro-equality voters even without the ability to interact in person.

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