A Night Of Firsts: Range Of Diverse Dems Elected To Public Office

Democratic nominee for the House of Delegates 13th district seat, Danica Roem, brings campaign signs as she greets voters while canvasing a neighborhood Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in Manassas, Va. Roem is running against Del. Bob Marshall in the 13th House of Delegates District. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Steve Helber/AP
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Diverse Democratic candidates scored wins on Tuesday night in cities and states across the country, with female, transgender, and minority candidates making history by winning public office.

Take a look at some of the Democrats who made history Tuesday night with their election victories:

Danica Roem

Democrat Danica Roem (pictured above) became one of the first openly transgender women to win public office when she unseated incumbent Virginia Republican state Del. Robert Marshall, who drafted a “bathroom bill” in the state.

Roem will be the first person to campaign as an openly transgender person to take a seat in a statehouse. Stacie Laughton was the first openly transgender woman to win a seat on a state legislature in a 2012 New Hampshire race, but she never took office. Althea Garrison, a transgender woman served a term in the Massachusetts state legislature but did not run as an openly transgender person.

“To every person who has ever been singled out, who has ever been stigmatized, who has ever been the misfit, who has ever been the kid in the corner, who has ever needed someone to stand up for them when they didn’t have a voice of their own,” Roem told supporters Tuesday night. “This is for you.”

Joyce Craig

 

Democrat Joyce Craig became the first female mayor of Manchester, the largest city in New Hampshire, when she defeated incumbent Mayor Ted Gatsas. Manchester saw its largest election turnout this decade, helping propel Craig to victory, according the Union Leader.

Vi Lyles

Charlotte, North Carolina elected Vi Lyles mayor on Tuesday, making her the first female African-American mayor of the city. The Democrat defeated Republican Kenny Smith by more than 15 points, according to unofficial returns.

“With this opportunity you’ve given me, you’ve proven that we are a city of opportunity and inclusiveness,” Lyles said Tuesday night, according to the Charlotte Observer. “You’ve proven that a woman whose father didn’t graduate from high school can become this city’s first female African-American mayor.”

Andrea Jenkins

Deebaa Sirdar (left) and Sara Lopez (right) took a selfie with Andrea Jenkins. Jenkins, is the first transgender woman of color elected to public office. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ • cgonzalez@startribune.com - November 2, 2017, Minneapolis, MN - Third Ward city council race -
Deebaa Sirdar (left) and Sara Lopez (right) took a selfie with Andrea Jenkins. Jenkins, is the first transgender woman of color elected to public office. CARLOS GONZALEZ • cgonzalez@startribune.com

Andrea Jenkins became the first openly transgender black woman to win public office on Tuesday when she won a seat on the Minneapolis City Council.

Jenny Durkan

Seattle voters on Tuesday night elected the city’s first openly lesbian woman to be the city’s mayor, Jenny Durkan. The Democrat is also the first woman to serve as Seattle mayor since 1926.

Justin Fairfax

Democrat Lt. Gov.-elect Justine Fairfax addresses the Ralph Northam For Governor election night party at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Democrat Lt. Gov.-elect Justin Fairfax addresses the Ralph Northam For Governor election night party at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Democrat Justin Fairfax became the second African-American man to win statewide office in Virginia when he won the lieutenant governor race. Former Gov. Doug Wilder was the first African-American to hold statewide office in Virginia.

Hala Ayala and Elizabeth Guzman

Virginia also elected its first two Latina state delegates when Democrats Hala Ayala and Elizabeth Guzman won their elections.

Sheila Oliver

New Jersey voters elected their first female African-American lieutenant governor Tuesday night, Sheila Oliver. The Democrat was also the first black woman to serve as the New Jersey state assembly speaker.

“This may not be the first glass ceiling I have broken, but it is certainly the highest,” Oliver said Tuesday night, according to the Huffington Post. “And I hope somewhere in this great state of New Jersey, a young girl of color is watching tonight and realizing that she does not have a limit to how high she can go.”

Tyler Titus

Pennsylvania elected its first openly transgender person to public office when Tyler Titus won a seat on the Erie School Board.

Ravi Bhalla

Hoboken, New Jersey elected its first Sikh mayor Tuesday night, Ravi Bhalla. He is one of the first Sikhs to win a mayoral race in the U.S., following in the footsteps of former Charlottesville Mayor Satyendra Huja.

Bhalla faced racist flyers in the last days of the campaign that read, “Don’t let TERRORISM take over our town.”

Wilmot Collins

Wilmot Collins became Montana’s first black mayor when he won the mayoral race in Helena Tuesday night. Collins came to the U.S. in 1994 as a refugee from Liberia and now works for the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.

Melvin Carter

St. Paul, Minnesota, elected its first black mayor Tuesday night, Melvin Carter.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.
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