The Democrat is challenging U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers, who rates a ‘zero’ with the HRC.

By Bob Vitale

Rick Neal

Democrat Rick Neal, who will be Ohio’s first openly gay member of Congress if he defeats one of the Republican leaders of the U.S. House this fall, has been given a campaign boost by a national group that works to elect LGBTQ candidates.

The Victory Fund has made Neal its second endorsed candidate in Ohio and says his race against U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers in the state’s 15th Congressional District is “crucial to winning a pro-equality majority in the U.S. Congress this year.”

The 15th District includes a portion of Columbus, suburbs in western Franklin County and other areas of Ohio stretching from Athens to Wilmington. Stivers is seeking his fifth term and serves as the head of the House Republican Campaign Committee, which recruits and raises money for GOP candidates nationwide.


“Rick’s commitment to common sense public policy that addresses the real concerns of Ohioans makes him the best candidate for Ohio’s 15th Congressional District,” Victory Fund President and CEO Annise Parker said in announcing her group’s backing. “When he wins in November, Rick will become a vital voice for the LGBTQ+¬†community.”

(Read our profile of Rick Neal in February’s issue of Prizm.)

In contrast, Stivers’ votes and positions on LGBTQ issues such as nondiscrimination and funding for HIV/AIDS treatment have earned him zero points in every Human Rights Campaign scorecard since he entered Congress in 2011.

The Victory Fund also has endorsed Democrat Nickie Antonio, the first openly gay member of the Ohio House of Representatives, in her race this year for the Ohio Senate.

Voters will choose their parties’ nominees in the May 8 primary election. The general election is Nov. 6.