BY DAVID CRARY, AP NATIONAL WRITER
When the oaths of office are taken in January, Congress could have its first openly gay Asian-American, Mark Takano of California; its first openly bisexual member, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona; and its first openly gay senator, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.
In all, eight openly gay candidates are running as major-party nominees for the House of Representatives, the most ever, including the two incumbents who are favored in their races - Democrats Jared Polis of Colorado and David Cicilline of Rhode Island. There's one gay Republican in the group, Richard Tisei, who is waging a competitive campaign for a House seat from Massachusetts.
A common denominator in all the races: Neither the gay candidates nor their rivals are stressing sexual orientation, and the oft-heard refrain is, "It's not an issue." If anti-gay innuendo does surface from lower echelons of a campaign, there are swift disavowals - even conservative candidates these days think twice about being depicted as biased against gays and lesbians.