The Associated Press declared Democrat Kyrsten Sinema the winner of Arizona’s 9th Congressional District race on Monday, making her the openly first bisexual individual to be elected to Congress.
“I am grateful for the honor and the opportunity to serve the people of Arizona again," she said in a statement. "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."
Sinema faced Republican candidate Vernon Parker, who opposed LGBT non-discrimination laws and same sex marriage. The tight race dragged on after Election Day as thousands of early and provisional ballots were counted. But Sinema took a 5,789-vote lead on Monday, and was declared victorious.
"I want to thank the voters and the people of Arizona," Parker said in a statement. "While I had wished for a different outcome, I will continue my public service so that everybody can follow the American dream just like I did."
The former Arizona state senator is also the first woman to represent Arizona’s 9th Congressional District.
Simena's victory brings the number of openly LGBT individuals in Congress up to seven, a new high. Three openly gay men -- Sean Patrick Maloney, Mark Pocan and Mark Takano -- were also elected to Congress. U.S. Reps. David Cicilline (D-RI) and Jared Polis (D-CO) were both re-elected, and Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) was elected to the U.S. Senate.
“We’re thrilled for Kyrsten. She’s a dynamic leader and she’ll be a strong voice for her community and for all LGBT Americans,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund. The group, dedicated to electing LGBT individuals, had supported Simena.
[Image via Kyrsten Sinema For Congress]