Former Democratic state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has made history by becoming the first openly bisexual woman to be elected to Congress.
Sinema has been elected to represent a new Phoenix-area congressional district after a final tally of votes pushed her past Republican Vernon Parker.
The senator’s victory comes in a year in which three states have approved gay marriage, and at least five openly gay Democrats have been elected to House seats. Tammy Baldwin, a Wisconsin congresswoman, also became the first openly gay person to be elected to the Senate.
On election night, Sinema’s narrow lead over Parker made the race too close to call. Her advantage improved as more ballots were counted in recent days, and she currently has a nearly 6,000-vote edge that is too large for Parker to overcome.
When he gave the GOP weekly address in September, Parker had been criticized by Democrats as a Tea Party radical who would hurt children by cutting the federal education department.
Republicans then countered by saying Sinema was too liberal for the newly created district.
Sinema’s district includes parts of Phoenix, several suburbs in East Valley, and the town of Paradise Valley where Parker was once mayor.
There is one more congressional race in Arizona that is as yet undecided. Rep. Ron Barber, the hand-picked successor to Gabrielle Giffords, held a lead of only a few hundred votes over Republican Martha McSally in the Tucson-area district.
Republicans held a slight registration advantage over Democrats in Arizona, but both parties’ totals were exceed by independent voters.
In a statement issued after her victory, Kyrsten Sinema said:
“I am grateful for the honor and the opportunity to serve the people of Arizona again. My job is to represent all of the people in CD9 whether they voted for me or not. The voters have given us a clear ‘to do’ list – work to fix our economy, reduce our ballooning debt and better protect the middle class. I am eager to get to work and I intend to team up with anyone of any party who is willing to help change Congress and move our country forward.”
[Photo credit: Kyrsten Sinema for Congress]