Decision 2020

Transgender Activist Expected to Make History After Del. Primary Victory

A transgender activist who made history by speaking at the Democratic National Convention is expected to make history again, this time in Delaware politics.

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Sarah McBride's political star has been burning bright for several years: she worked as an intern in the Obama administration and spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2016.

That speech garnered McBride her initial brush with history: She was the first transgender person to speak at a major party convention.

Now, the 30-year-old activist who has served as national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign is the heir apparent to Delaware's longest-serving state senator in history.

McBride, a Democrat, defeated Joseph McCole on Tuesday to advance to the November general election. The Senate district in contention stretches from northern Wilmington to the Pennsylvania border, and has been held by Democrat Harris McDowell since 1976. McDowell, who is retiring and endorsed McBride.

A report in the New York Times said McBride, if elected Nov. 3, would "become the nation’s highest-ranking openly transgender elected official."

Democrats outnumber Republicans in the district by more than 3-to-1, and McBride is the heavy favorite against Republican Steve Washington in November.

If elected, McBride would join a handful of other transgender legislators around the country but would be the first transgender state senator.

“I’m bringing my whole self to this race,” McBride told The Associated Press in an interview before Tuesday’s primary. “My identity is one part of who I am, but it’s just one part.”

“I would be legislating based not on my identity,” McBride added. “I would be legislating based on my values and on the needs of my constituents.”

McBride’s campaign has generated interest from around the country and more than $250,000 in donations, eclipsing fundraising totals even for candidates for statewide office in Delaware.

McBride’s priorities include paid family and medical leave for all workers, reducing costs and increasing competition in the health care industry, and strengthening public schools.

After serving as student body president at American University, McBride started in politics as a volunteer for Matt Denn during his successful 2004 campaign for attorney general. Denn and McBride’s father both worked 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 the late former state Attorney General Beau Biden.

“Next year, as the first transgender state senator in our nation, Sarah will show that any child can achieve their dream, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation,” said Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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