Sinema’s Senate win cheered by LGBTQ groups

Sinema’s Senate win cheered by LGBTQ groups
© Greg Nash

LGBTQ groups are cheering the Monday night victory by Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D), who is set to become the country's first openly bisexual senator. 

Sinema's win was officially declared on Monday after six days of ballot-counting in a tight senatorial race against GOP Rep. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSally The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation McSally knocks Arizona GOP official's call for supporters to stop Mark Kelly 'dead in his tracks' Top Arizona GOP official asks supporters to help stop 'gun grabber' Mark Kelly 'dead in his tracks' MORE (Ariz.). Sinema will be the state's first female senator and the first Democrat to win a Senate race in Arizona since 1988. 

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Sinema is also the second openly LGBTQ person to be elected to the upper chamber, joining Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinFederal funding for Chinese buses risks our national security Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall The Trump downturn: Trouble ahead for the US economy MORE (D-Wis.), who is lesbian.

“An LGBTQ woman winning a U.S. Senate seat in a state that voted for Trump is a game-changer, both for the LGBTQ community and the Democratic party,” CEO and President of LGBTQ Victory Fund Annise Parker said in a statement on Monday. “Kyrsten’s victory makes clear that an LGBTQ candidate who listens to voters and prioritizes their issues can win elected office anywhere – blue state or red state." 

Victory Fund, a political action committee that works to elect LGBTQ candidates to office, dubbed Sinema one of their "game changer" candidates this election cycle, directly contributing $10,000 to her campaign and raising more than $97,000 for her.

The country's largest LGBTQ advocacy organization, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), also in a statement called Sinema's win "historic." 

HRC has invested heavily in the Arizona Senate race, with 18 staff members on the ground and thousands of volunteers nationwide seeking to bolster Sinema's campaign.

"Arizona voters rejected [President] Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE and [Vice President] Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePence says it's 'vital' for Congress to pass US-Mexico-Canada trade deal Pence says US is 'locked and loaded' to defend allies Trump awards Yankees legend Mariano Rivera the Medal of Freedom MORE’s politics of bigotry and fear and made history by electing bold pro-equality champion Kyrsten Sinema as the nation’s first openly bisexual U.S. Senator,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement.

The Arizona Democrat was also the first openly bisexual member of the House of Representatives, co-chairing of the chamber’s Equality Caucus and co-sponsoring the Equality Act, federal legislation that would guarantee protections for LGBTQ people. 

Sinema is a moderate Blue Dog Democrat who touted her centrist positions throughout her campaign. 

Baldwin congratulated Sinema, as did others working in the LGBTQ community on Monday.

Sinema says she has "always been out," but made her first public comment about bisexuality as an elected official in 2005, according to Elle Magazine.

"We're simply people like everyone else who want and deserve respect," Sinema said, responding to an anti-LGBTQ speech by a Republican lawmaker.

Reporters later asked her about her use of the first person.

"Duh, I'm bisexual," she replied. 

Some analysts have said there was a "rainbow wave" during this year's midterm elections, with a record number of LGBTQ candidates running and winning up and down the ballot.

Democratic Rep. Jared PolisJared Schutz PolisDemocrats grill BLM chief over plans to move officials out of DC Colorado governor pokes fun at FaceApp Number of openly LGBTQ elected officials rose nearly 25 percent since 2018: report MORE on Election Day became the first openly gay man to win a gubernatorial race in Colorado.

— Updated 10 p.m.