After a hard-fought race in a newly formed Arizona congressional district, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema was declared the winner today, becoming the first openly bisexual member of Congress.
Sinema, a former state senator, joins at least five openly gay Democrats who were elected to House seats, and Tammy Baldwin, who became the first openly gay candidate elected to the Senate.
When asked by ABCNews.com how it felt to be the first openly bisexual member of Congress, Sinema said, “We’ve made history, and we’re proud of that, but what I am interested in is making history by making things better for the people of Arizona’s 9th Congressional District.”
Sinema, 36, had a razor-thin lead on Election Night against her opponent, Tea Party candidate Vernon Parker, but she ultimately pulled ahead, finishing with a 6,000-vote edge over the Republican, the Associated Press reported today.
Arizona’s 9th District makes a crescent around downtown Phoenix, drawing in a large urban constituency. Independents outnumber both Democrats and Republicans in the district, which made the race especially competitive.
Sinema said she believes her message, which includes creating Arizona jobs, resonated with voters who are struggling in a tough economy.
“My own family, my own life has been the struggle of making it to the middle class,” she said. “This district is a very young district. We’ll always be competitive. Folks will be making decisions on who has the best ideas.”
After a visit to New York City today for an evening event thrown by Glamour magazine to honor female elected officials, Sinema said she would travel to Washington D.C., for meetings as she gets ready to move into her new office in January.
“I’m just humbled and excited to start working for the people of Arizona,” she said.