10 Gay Candidates to Watch This Election Day

This may be an odd-numbered year, but it's no "off year" for electoral politics.

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund has announced its list of "10 Races to Watch" for 2011. Each of the openly gay and lesbian candidates on the list faces a general election Nov. 8.

These are exciting and, in some cases, even historic races. They're among 75 candidates endorsed by the Victory Fund for 2011 races, most of whom are running for municipal offices.

Victory Fund's "10 Races to Watch" for 2011 are:
Zach Adamson (Indianapolis City Council): Adamson could become Indianapolis' first openly LGBT city council member.

Caitlin Copple (Missoula, Mont. City Council): Missoula has become a focal point of the Montana debate over LGBT non-discrimination laws.  Copple's election would add an authentic voice from the LGBT community to this discussion and many others concerning her community.

Bevan Dufty (San Francisco Mayor): A former San Francisco Supervisor who represented the same district as Harvey Milk for eight years, Dufty is prepared to continue Milk's legacy and serve as the top elected official in the city.  A victory in this race would make him San Francisco's first openly LGBT mayor.

Patrick Forrest (Virginia State Senate): If he wins, Patrick would become the only openly LGBT Republican state legislator in America, and one of the first openly LGBT members of the Virginia Senate.

Daniel Hernandez, Jr. (Sunnyside Unified School District Board of Governors, Tucson, Ariz.): When his boss, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was shot along with numerous others at a district event in Tucson, Hernandez sprang into action and is credited with helping to save Giffords' life.  The world marveled at his quick thinking and leadership qualities on display that day, and many have urged him to consider a career in public service.

LaWana Mayfield (Charlotte, N.C. City Council): Mayfield's primary victory made national news because Charlotte has never elected an openly LGBT city council member. She'll finish the job and join the council if she wins her general election.

Pam Miller (Savannah, Ga. City Council): Miller could become the first openly LGBT candidate in Georgia to win outside the Atlanta metro area.

Alex Morse (Mayor, Holyoke, Mass.): At just 22, Morse already has a public service record to rival candidates twice his age.  In the primary he bested the incumbent mayor by a single vote.  He could make history this November as the city's youngest and first openly LGBT mayor.

Rory Neuner (Lansing, Mich. City Council): Neuner has already worked to make Lansing a better city, and her door-to-door campaign for city council could make her the only openly LGBT city council member.

Chris Seelbach (Cincinnati, Ohio City Council): Seelbach has already been instrumental in making Cincinnati a more welcoming place for all families.   Now he could become its first openly LGBT city council member.