June 9, 2010

CONTACT: Vaishalee Raja, Communications Director
PHONE: 916-284-9187 EMAIL: vaishalee AT eqca DOT org

Equality California Congratulates Pro-Equality Candidates on Success in Primary Elections

An unprecedented number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender candidates won their primaries

Vast majority of Equality California PAC-endorsed candidates excelled at the ballot

Sacramento— In yesterday's primary elections, Californians voted overwhelmingly for candidates who support full equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, and an unprecedented number of LGBT candidates for federal, state and judicial office won their primaries, which will likely result in a record-seven openly LGBT members of the California Legislature.

"Equality California contacted hundreds of thousands of voters, donated money, and had hundreds of staff and volunteers working on vital campaigns, and our efforts paid off -- Californians have sent a strong message by casting votes for candidates who are vocal champions for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and we demonstrated that the LGBT community's strength can help pave the road to victory," said Geoff Kors, Equality California Executive Director. "Despite these incredible wins, we cannot be complacent as the general election approaches. Meg Whitman's victory poses a serious threat to LGBT Californians and to our families and Yes on Prop. 8 leader Andrew Pugno's victory sets the stage for a major battle with the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage. With so much at stake, we will redouble our efforts to ensure that Californians elect officials who share our vision of full and true equality."

The vast majority of candidates endorsed and supported by Equality California PAC were victorious at the polls. In one of Equality California's highest priority races, Mary Salas (Senate District 40) won her bid for state senate, defeating a candidate who voted against marriage equality legislation.

Equality California Institute Board Member Betsy Butler won her bid for State Assembly (Assembly District 53), as did Equality California-endorsed Mike Gatto (Assembly District 43) who prevailed despite a TV ad campaign attacking Gatto for his support of marriage for same-sex couples.

Victoria Kolakowski, Alameda County judicial candidate, is one step closer to becoming the nation's first elected transgender superior court judge. In addition, Michael Nava, San Francisco County judicial candidate, came in first in his bid to become the state's first openly gay Latino judge. Kolakowski and Nava earned enough votes to face a runoff in the general election. Lesbian judicial candidate Linda Colfax won her race to become a San Francisco judge. Equality California PAC endorsed and worked to elect all three candidates as part of a new effort to elect more LGBT judges to the bench.

In closely contested races, Equality California staff and volunteers made tens of thousands of phone calls and provided hundreds of hours of field support leading up to and on Election Day.

Equality California PAC only endorses candidates who receive a perfect score on the candidate questionnaire. The winners of the local and statewide contests will move on to represent their party in the state's November general election.

For a complete list of results in races with Equality California PAC-endorsed candidates, visit

The Equality California PAC is a sponsored committee of EQCA, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve equality and civil rights of all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians.