Sarah McBride becomes the first transgender state senator in US history

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Sarah McBride has become the first openly transgender state senator in U.S. history after easily defeating Republican candidate Steve Washington to represent Delaware's 1st District.

As a state senator, she will also be the country's highest-ranking openly transgender official.

"We did it. We won the general election. Thank you, thank you, thank you," McBride tweeted. "I hope tonight shows an LGBTQ kid that our democracy is big enough for them, too. As Delaware continues to face the Covid crisis, it’s time to get to work to invest in the policies that will make a difference for working families."

McBride replaces incumbent Democrat Harris McDowell, who did not seek re-election after 44 years.

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The Human Rights Campaign, for which McBride is a spokesperson, took to Twitter to congratulate her.

"We're so proud of you for this historic win," the LGBTQ rights advocacy group wrote.

McBride told the New York Times that she wanted her victory to inspire others.

“My hope is that this result can help reinforce for a young kid trying to find their place in this world, here in Delaware or anywhere else in this country, that this democracy is big enough for them, too,” she said. “Right now in America, we are seeing voices that for so long were pushed to the margins and to the shadows finally being heard.” 

McBride is no stranger to poltiics, starting out as a volunteer for Matt Denn, former legal counsel to Delaware’s governor, during his successful 2004 campaign for insurance commissioner. Denn, who later served as lieutenant governor and attorney general, worked with McBride’s father at a Wilmington law firm known for its close ties to the Democratic Party establishment.

McBride later worked on the campaigns of former Gov. Jack Markell and former state Attorney General Beau Biden, former vice president Joe Biden's late son. Joe Biden wrote the foreword to McBride’s 2018 book, "Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality."

In addition, she was an intern at the White House in 2012 during former President Barack Obama's administration and made history for her appearance at Democratic National Convention in 2016, becoming the first transgender person to speak at a major party's national convention.

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Her campaign generated interest and money from around the country, raising more than $270,000 in donations as of early October, eclipsing fundraising totals even for candidates for statewide office in Delaware.

McBride is one of several members of the LGBTQ community who were elected to the state legislature on Tuesday.

Social worker and political newcomer Marie Pinkney also was elected to the state Senate after knocking off the Senate president pro tem, who was first elected to the General Assembly in 1978, in a September Democratic primary. Pinkney identifies as queer and is the first openly queer woman elected to the legislature.

Similarly, Democrat Eric Morrison became the first openly gay man elected to the General Assembly on Tuesday after defeating an incumbent House member in the September primary.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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