U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), one of seven LGBTQ members and the only out bisexual person in Congress, has announced she will run for the Senate seat currently held by Republican Jeff Flake.
Sinema made the announcement in a video on Thursday, making her the first Democrat to challenge Flake, who is up for re-election in 2018.
Flake’s approval ratings is currently mired in the low 20s, according to recent polls, and he is already facing a primary challenge from former State Sen. Kelli Ward, an arch-conservative with anti-LGBTQ views who previously challenged John McCain when he was up for re-election in 2016. Other Republicans may also soon enter the race as well.
Should Sinema win the election, she would become just the second out LGBTQ person to be elected to the Senate, behind Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), who is also up for re-election in 2018.
A poll commissioned by Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC advocating for Democratic candidates for Senate, found Sinema leading Flake in a head-to-head matchup by 7 points, 47% to 40%.
The Victory Fund, which works to elect out LGBTQ candidates, called Sinema’s campaign “an enormous opportunity” for the community.
“All of Washington is watching this matchup — including opponents of LGBTQ rights who will mobilize further now that an openly LGBTQ candidate is in the race,” Aisha Moodie-Mills, the president and CEO of Victory Fund, said in a statement. “But Krysten knows Arizona politics and her constituents well, and polls show her up seven points in a matchup against Senator Flake.
“It won’t be easy, but our community will rally and I am confident we can send Kyrsten to join Tammy Baldwin, doubling LGBTQ representation in the U.S. Senate,” she added. “Representation is power — it changes the conversations and leads to more inclusive legislation and policies. A win for Kyrsten will be a significant victory for our community, and for LGBTQ equality.”
See Sinema’s campaign announcement video below:
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