28-year-old defeats Proud Boys leader to become only openly LGBTQ+ member of Hawaii House

Posted at 2:17 PM, Nov 10, 2020

A 28-year-old openly gay first-time candidate for a seat in the Hawaii state legislature defeated a Proud Boys leader in this month's election.

Adrian Tam defeated Nicholas Ochs by carrying 63% of the vote in the race to represent Hawaii's District 22 — which covers Waikiki, Ala Moana, and Kakaako on Oahu — in the state House of Representatives.

According to The Daily Beast and NBC News, Tam will be the only openly LGBTQ+ person currently serving in the Hawaii legislature.

Tam said that throughout the general election campaign, he was "bombarded" with hateful messages from his opponents' campaign.

"It's almost to a harassment level," Tam told NBC News.

The Ochs campaign Facebook page was removed in September for violating platform policies. He has been criticized for "offensive posts" about the Jewish and LGBTQ+ communities, according to NBC News. The Daily Beast reports that Ochs received an endorsement from Roger Stone, a longtime Trump ally and political provocateur.

Ochs told NBC News that he had also received harassing messages from Tam's supporters, and denied that he is a racist.

But despite his messy race with Ochs, Tam told The Daily Beast that his campaign's biggest challenge came in unseating incumbent Tom Brower in the primary election. Brower had served as the district's representative since 2008.

"This was a 'change election,'" Tam told The Daily Beast. "A lot of new candidates are younger, and won races or open primaries."

Tam told The Daily Beast that LGBTQ+ issues did not come up much on the campaign trail.

"People were more concerned about the economy and their livelihoods," he told The Daily Beast. "But I had a lot of people who are LGBTQ tell me that they were excited about our campaign. They really wanted us to win."

"I'm glad that our Congress is slowly coming together and starting to look like the population of America," he told NBC News.