Jewish lesbian lawyer Dana Nessel has made history as the first openly gay person to win a statewide office in Michigan—but it was a penis joke that gave her underdog campaign its first boost.

Nessel, who helped overturn Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban in 2012, won a five-way race to become the state’s attorney general during the US midterm elections.



With 96 percent of the vote counted on Tuesday (November 7), Nessel had 48.5 percent of the vote, narrowly beating Republican Tom Leanoard, who got 46.8 percent, reports Michigan news website Mlive.com.

Leonard admitted defeat on Tuesday morning, saying: “Dana Nessel ran a smart campaign and earned the voters’ trust,” reports The State News.

Nessel made headlines in November 2017 when her bold campaign video—released amid the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo movement—for the statewide position went viral.

“So, when you’re choosing Michigan’s next attorney general. Ask yourself this: Who can you trust most not to show you their penis in a professional setting? Is it the candidate who doesn’t have a penis? I’d say so.” – Dana Nessel

In the advert, Nessel says: “If the last few weeks have taught us anything, it’s that we need more women in positions of power, not less.

“So, when you’re choosing Michigan’s next attorney general. Ask yourself this: Who can you trust most not to show you their penis in a professional setting? Is it the candidate who doesn’t have a penis? I’d say so.”

The video was widely reported and so far has more than 24,000 views on YouTube.

Nessel, who is married and has twin sons, went on to have her campaign endorsed by former vice president Joe Biden.

Dana Nessel pictured in October, who has won the position of Michigan Attorney General.
Dana Nessel is the first openly gay person to win a statewide office in Michigan. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Addressing her supporters on Tuesday (November 7), Nessel thanked her family and her wife Alanna Maguire.

“And for all of you out there that can’t handle the fact that I’m about to become the first openly gay person to hold statewide office [in Michigan],” Nessel said, before kissing her wife to loud applause.

Nessel, who studied at University of Michigan and Wayne State University Law School, told the crowd: “Everyone in this state [who] has felt like they weren’t included and their government did not care about them—I don’t care what your race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity [is].

“You belong here. You are a Michigander. As of now, you have a government that cares about you.”

LGBT+ candidates secured positions during the US midterm elections

Nessel was one of dozens openly LGBT+ candidates who were elected to office in the US this week. Openly gay candidate JD Ford won the race for Indiana’s Senate District 29, unseating longtime Republican Senator Mike Delph.

Ford is thought to be the first openly LGBT+ legislator in Indiana, the home state of vice-president Mike Pence.

In Kansas, Sharice Davids won a congressional seat, becoming the first openly lesbian and Native American woman to be elected to the US House of Representatives.

Former Colorado congressman Jared Polis became the first openly gay man to hold the office of governor. Polis, his partner and their two children will become the first same-sex family to live in a governor’s mansion in the US.




Read This: The Celebrities That You Didn’t Realise Are Gay