While Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan is joining the Republican presidential ticket, a colleague from the Wisconsin Legislature is poised to become one of the very few openly gay lawmakers in the U.S. House. Rep. Mark Pocan won a primary election in Wisconsin’s 2nd District with 70 percent of the vote and is considered the likely winner in November’s election.

Pocan cites an attack where a group of men followed him and his longtime partner from a gay bar and beat them with bats as his catalyst for entering the political foray. He’s running to replace current Rep. Tammy Baldwin, a lesbian who is running for Senate to replace retiring Sen. Herb Kohl. If elected, Baldwin will become the first openly gay member of the United States Senate.

Both candidates were endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign and Baldwin is being supported by the newly formed Lesbian Political Action Committee. The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund also endorsed Pocan and President Chuck Wolfe strongly supports his bid.

“Mark Pocan is an outstanding public servant who will be a strong and authentic voice for LGBT Americans in Congress,” he said. “It’s fitting that as Congresswoman Baldwin fights to win a historic victory in the Senate, Mark Pocan will follow in her footsteps as one of the most powerful voices for LGBT equality in America.”

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