Bisexual politician Kyrsten Sinema won the Democratic primary on Tuesday (28 August) for one of Arizona’s Senate seats.
She will now face off against Rep. Martha McSally, the Republican primary winner, in November’s midterm election. They are vying for Republican Jeff Flake’s seat, who previously announced he would not be running for re-election.
If Sinema wins, she will subsequently accomplish numerous firsts.
She’ll become the first openly bisexual Senator, as well as the first female Senator from Arizona.
McSally was the first woman to pilot a fighter jet. She defeated former state Sen. Kelli Ward and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to win the nomination.
A record number of LGBTI people are running for public office this year, in a variety of positions, including governor, representative, and more.
Arizona’s other Senate seat is also vacant after John McCain’s death over the weekend. It is now up to Gov. Doug Ducey (R) to choose someone to fill McCain’s seat until 2020, when the seat is up for re-election. As per regulations in Arizona, McCain’s replacement must be a Republican.
A chance to change the tide
Midterm elections typically see less voter turnout than presidential elections. Since Trump’s inauguration, however, political energy in the US has increased.
More Democrats are voting in these primaries, helping people like Andrew Gillum win their nominations. Gillum is the first ever black gubernatorial candidate in Florida.
Currently, Republicans control both chambers of Congress as well as the White House. Democrats are seeking to take back one, or both, of the chambers in a few months.
As it stands, Republicans have 51 seats in the Senate, Democrats have 47, and Independents have 2. 33 seats are being contested in regular elections, with 24 previously held by Democrats and nine held by Republicans.
Republicans can only afford a net loss of one Senate seat to maintain their majority (the Vice President, Mike Pence, serves as tie-breaker).
In the House, all 435 seats are up for grabs. Republicans have had a majority in the House since 2011 and Democrats need to win a net of 25 seats to gain the majority.
The midterm elections take place on 6 November.