In one of less than a dozen US House races that had not yet been called, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, on November 12, was declared the winner in a new Arizona district created as a result of the 2010 Census.
Sinema, a former state senator, will be the first openly bisexual member of Congress, representing a district made up of portions of Phoenix and its suburbs. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Sinema led her Republican opponent Vernon Parker, an African American who served as mayor of Paradise Valley, a predominately white community in the new district, by more than 6,000 votes.
In a race that the Huffington Post reported included millions of dollars in attack ads, Sinema charged that Parker was a Tea Party radical whose endorsement of cuts to the federal Department of Education would hurt children. According to the Washington Post, Parker volleyed back that Sinema was too liberal for the district and didn’t understand the needs of women who stay at home to raise their children.
Sinema, a 36-year-old attorney, served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 2005 until 2011 and then spent one year in the State Senate until resigning her seat in January to pursue the new Arizona 9th House seat.
Sinema will be one of a record six-member out LGBT House caucus –– all of them Democrats –– including incumbents Jared Polis of Colorado and David Cicilline of Rhode Island and newly elected Representatives Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, and Mark Takano of California. Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, whose seat Pocan won last week, was elected to the US Senate, becoming that chamber’s first out LGBT member. Longtime Congressman Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, retires at the end of this year.