In a political first, two gay candidates face off in congressional election

A historic number of LGBTQ candidates will appear on ballots across the country in November. At least 1,095 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people have run or are

still running for office at all levels this year, up from 1,006 in 2020, according to data from the LGBTQ Victory Fund.  In New York, two gay candidates — Democrat Robert

Zimmerman and Republican George Santos — are running to fill the seat vacated by Democrat Tom Suozzi in New York’s 3rd Congressional District. This will be the first time in U.S.

history that two out LGBTQ congressional candidates are going head to head in a general election.  President Joe Biden took the district by 10 points in 2020, but the race

is considered competitive, though Democratic-leaning, by the Cook Political Report. It is one of 16 competitive races in which LGBTQ candidates appear, and which may decide

control of the U.S. House, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund. Though this race guaranteed to result in a win for a gay candidate, the outcome of the election will help

determine whether Democrats hang on to their slim majority in the House. 'It was going to happen sooner of later' The odds of a faceoff between two gay candidates have gone

up in recent years, because there’s been an increase in LGBTQ candidates at all levels of government.  “It was going to happen sooner or later,” said Donald Haider-Markel, a

political science professor at the University of Kansas and the author of “Out and Running: Gay and Lesbian Candidates, Elections and Policy Representation.” “The question was

always finding an LGBTQ Republican who can get support in a primary.”