From coast to coast on Tuesday — and in many states in the middle — races fell in favor of LGBTQ rights and openly LGBTQ candidates on election night. After a lot of hype following successful primaries, these
wins for LGBTQ rights in the 2018 midterm elections do, in fact, constitute a rainbow wave. LGBTQ candidates won no matter what type of race you're looking at. They were elected to the House in record numbers, and the only openly LGBTQ senator will be going back to Washington as well. Two governorships now land on the rainbow map, and out candidates won other statewide races, too. It's hard to even quantify the rest of the down-ballot wins in statehouses, city councils, and more.
There were, however, some disappointments.
Gina Ortiz Jones, an out Iraq War veteran running for the House in Texas, was in a too close to call race as of Wednesday morning, according to The Texas Tribune. In the race for governor in Texas, Lupe Valdez lost, as did Christine Hallquist in the Vermont governor's race. She would have been the first transgender governor elected in the country.
Besides the election of out candidates, there a few more wins. Massachusetts saw an
effort to overturn legal protections for its transgender citizens via a ballot initiative, Question 3, fail. And from California to Kentucky, straight politicians who grew famous in the fight for marriage equality won and lost their races in ways that can be seen as symbolic wins for LGBTQ rights.
These wins, taken together, can definitely be seen as a rainbow wave.
1 Jared Polis Won Colorado Governor's Race Rick T. Wilking/Getty Images News/Getty Images 2 Yes On 3 In Massachusetts 3 Tammy Baldwin Reelected Senator From Wisconsin Darren Hauck/Getty Images News/Getty Images 4 Kate Brown Wins Second Term As Oregon's Governor Natalie Behring/Getty Images News/Getty Images
With Polis, two of the 50 states will have openly LGBTQ governors starting in January. Kate Brown, who identifies as bi,
was reelected in Oregon. 5 Sharice Davids Won Her House Seat In Kansas Whitney Curtis/Getty Images News/Getty Images Sharice Davids was elected to the House for her district in Kansas, defeating a four-term Republican incumbent in the process. Not only that, Davids identifies as a lesbian and is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation.
That makes her, together with Debra Haaland of New Mexico, the first Native American woman ever to serve in Congress.
She's also the first LGBTQ congresswoman ever elected from Kansas. And she's definitely, definitely, the first gay Native American woman to go to Washington. 6 Chris Pappas Elected To House In New Hampshire 7 Angie Craig Beat Back An Anti-LGBTQ Opponent And Won Her House Seat In Minnesota 8 Rhode Island's David Cicilline Won Reelection To The House Alex Edelman/Getty Images News/Getty Images 9 Wisconsin's Mark Pocan Was Reelected To The House Leigh Vogel/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images 10 Mark Takano Was Reelected To The House In California 11 Gavin Newsom Won The California Governor's Race Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images News/Getty Images 12 Kim Davis Lost Her Reelection Ty Wright/Getty Images News/Getty Images Kim Davis lost reelection as the local county clerk. This win is purely symbolic and won't technically have much effect on LGBTQ rights outside of Rowan County, Kentucky.
Still, given that she made a name for herself internationally by refusing to sign same-sex marriage licenses, there's no way to ignore this win. Her opponent promised to treat all marriages equally.
On top of these races, there are lots of down-ballot wins to celebrate, too. Though there were a few high-profile losses, LGBTQ people have never been represented at all levels of government — and that's a rainbow wave.