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Firsts: Transgender and Black Democratic Women Just Made History at the Voting Booth

Christine Hallquist, a trans woman, became the Democratic nominee for Vermont's governor race yesterday. She spearheads a vital wave of Democratic women seeking office in November.

New Civil Rights Movement | August 15, 2018

More women are running for office at all levels across the country than at an time in U.S. history. Most of them are Democrats. And Tuesday night showed just how successful they’re going to be.

In Vermont, Democrats voted for Christine Hallquist (photo) in the gubernatorial race. If elected in November she will be the nation’s first openly transgender person ever to become a state governor. Hallquist won against a slate of three other challengers, including a 14-year old boy, Ethan Sonneborn, who made a lot of national headlines (because he’s 14, and impressed many with his platform,) as The Daily Beast reports. Hallquist is the former CEO of a consumer-owned electric company. She will face incumbent GOP Governor Phil Scott in November.

“Christine’s victory is a defining moment for trans equality and is especially remarkable given how few out trans elected officials there are at any level of government,” Victory Fund president Annise Parker said in a statement, as Governing reports.

Hallquist becomes one of 12 women who have been nominated this year to become governors – again, the most in U.S. history. Currently just six women are serving as governors.

Further south in New England voters nominated the first Black Democrat to represent them in Congress. Jahana Hayes was President Barack Obama’s 2016 Teacher of the Year, and beat out the expected favorite.

“If Congress starts to look like us, no one can stop us,” Hayes said. “This is our moment to act, to organize, and bring our truth to power.”

Her platform: “protecting the public education system, moving towards a single-payer health care system and passing gun control legislation,” as CNN reports.

In Minnesota Ilhan Omar, a Somali immigrant and state lawmaker, won the nomination to replace Rep. Keith Ellison. Ellison was running for and won the Democratic nomination to become his state’s next Attorney General. If she wins in November, which is seen as likely, Omar will become the second Muslim woman elected to Congress.

Also in Minnesota State Sen. Tina Smith won the Democratic nomination to replace Sen. Al Franken. Smith beat former Republican and frequent MSNBC guest Richard Painter.

Rutgers’ Center for American Women and Politics is keeping an updated Summary of Women Candidates. Included are 31 women running for the U.S. Senate (including primaries, there are 19 Democrats and 12 Republicans.)

In the U.S. House races there are 283 women still running (212 Democrats, 71 Republicans.)

Written by David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement