Sarah McBride became the first openly transgender person elected to a state senate on Tuesday, winning her race in Delaware’s 1st State Senate District. Her victory comes as part of a wave of at least 574 LGBTQ candidates seeking office in the 2020 general elections.
“It’s certainly my hope that tonight’s results can send a comforting message to any young trans person here in Delaware or across the country that their voice matters and our democracy is big enough for them,” McBride said.
Although most of the national coverage of McBride’s campaign has focused on the historic nature of her candidacy, said her senior adviser Joe Ste.Marie, “day to day, it’s really been kitchen table issue-focused.”
McBride’s campaign has focused on four central issues: paid family medical leave, health-care access, equity in education and criminal justice system reform.
“From the start of this campaign, I have said that I’m running to be the health-care senator and the paid leave senator,” said McBride.
McBride has already made history in her career — in 2012 she became the first transgender person to serve openly in the White House as an intern.
“It’s amazing to think that eight years ago, even being an intern in the White House was groundbreaking,” said Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, deputy executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “All of us working and living under the Trump administration, it’s easy to feel demoralized because of the Trump administration’s attacks on trans people. But in public opinion, people are becoming more and more supportive of trans people every day.”
Annise Parker, president and chief executive of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, a political action committee dedicated to increasing the number of LGBTQ public officials, agrees.
“Sarah’s overwhelming victory is a powerful testament to the growing influence of transgender leaders in our politics and gives hope to countless trans people looking toward a brighter future,” Parker said in a statement.
McBride credits her win, in part, to the power of local politics.