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Democrats Nominate Two Transgender Women And A Former Undocumented Immigrant To Run For Congress

This has been a scary election year for liberals. The rise of Donald Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee has exposed the darkest fragments of American society. The racists, sexists, xenophobes and homophobes have all come out from the holes where they used to hide to loudly embrace the candidate that finally expresses what they’re thinking.

To many, the success of the Brexit movement meant that white nationalism would also win in our own elections next November. But the primary wins of two transgender women and a Dominican-American who was once an undocumented immigrant serve as proof that, sometimes, inclusivity wins.

For the first time in American history, a major party has selected a transgender woman to run for a Senate seat.

Utah Democrats chose Misty K. Snow to run against Republican Sen. Mike Lee. The 30-year-old grocery store clerk from Salt Lake City beat her opponent, Jonathan Swinton, by almost 20 points. Swinton, a marriage therapist, ran to the right of Snow, who attacked him for advocating limits to abortion rights. Snow ran a campaign similar to that of Bernie Sanders, advocating for “$15 per hour minimum wage, paid family leave, legalized marijuana, criminal-justice reform and free or reduced tuition for higher education” according to the Salt Lake City Tribune.

“We hoped more Democrats were really looking at the long game at this, trying to unseat Mike Lee,” Swinton said, referring to Snow’s slim chances of winning a general election in conservative Utah. “The reality is I’ve done my absolute best and run an honorable campaign.”

Snow released a statement after her win, calling Tuesday “a historic day for the LGBT community.” 
 If elected in November, she would also be the youngest senator in the chamber.

And Snow wasn’t alone: Colorado Democrats chose Misty Plowright, one of the first transgender people to run for congress, to challenge Rep. Doug Lamborn. Plowright, A 33-years old Army veteran who works in IT, beat her closest opponent by more than 3,000 votes.

Harlem Democrats chose state senator Adriano Espaillat to take over longtime Rep. Charles Rangel’s seat in the House of Representatives.

Espaillat’s candidacy is remarkable for several reasons: Not only would he be the first Dominican-American to serve in Congress, but his win also represents a fundamental change in the historically black neighborhood of Harlem, which has turned increasingly Hispanic. “I never thought about that ever happening in all of my years, 72 years,” Rangel said of the results.

The 61-year-old state senator ran against assemblyman Keith Wright, a black man who was endorsed by Rangel. Wright has refused to concede until “every vote is counted,” citing a “real possibility of a lot of campaign irregularities and voter suppression.” Based on the latest results, Espalliat beat him by around 1,300 votes.

“The voters … elected a country boy from Santiago de los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic,” Espaillat told Reuters. Espalliat will probably win the November election – Democratic voters outnumber Republican voters in Harlem by quite a margin.

Snow and Plowright face a tougher battle in November – they are running in conservative states where the Democrat vote does not represent anywhere near a majority of the population. Plowright on her part is running in the Colorado’s 5th district, one of the most conservative in the state. Snow’s state of Utah is one of the most conservatives in the nation. Her challenger, Sen. Mike Lee is a powerful tea-party favorite who won with more than 60 percent of the vote in 2010.

There may be hope for Snow yet, however small. Predominantly-Mormon Utah voters, despite the state’s history as a stalwart of the right, hate Donald Trump with a passion for his persecution of another minority religion, Islam. So far, that hasn’t benefitted Democrats in the state as much as it has hurt Republicans. But if Donald Trump can turn Utah purple, anything is possible.

Photo: Facebook

Espaillat Concedes In New York House Race

State Senator Adriano Espaillat has officially conceded his challenge to 22-term U.S. Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY), two days after Rangel declared victory in the Democratic primary in New York’s 13th congressional district.

“I want to express my deepest appreciation for all of the efforts of my supporters and volunteers on my campaign for Congress,” Senator Espaillat said in a statement. “My sincerest thanks goes out to the unwavering endorsements provided to me from all of the labor unions, newspapers, advocacy groups, elected officials, and community leaders. Even though I will not be representing the 13th District in Congress, I will continue to fight for Opportunity for All. While much has been written about the politics of race and ethnicity within this District, there is no question that our campaign focused on bringing the community together around our shared needs and struggles.”

Espaillat went on to announce that he will seek re-election in the state Senate.

With all 471 precincts reporting on election night, Rangel led Espaillat 47 to 43 percent, causing NY1 to call the race for the incumbent. Espaillat refused to concede, however, citing uncounted absentee ballots. The Associated Press also called the race on Wednesday evening, apparently leading to Espaillat’s change of heart.

Rangel is now virtually assured a 23rd term in the House; there is no Republican on the ballot in November.

Photo: PresidenciaRD via Flickr

Rangel Defeats Espaillat In Democratic Primary

U.S. Representative Charles Rangel appears to have won the Democratic primary for U.S. House in New York’s 13th congressional district, defeating state Senator Adriano Espaillat. With all 471 precincts reporting, Rangel led Espaillat by a 47 to 43 percent margin, or 1,828 votes.

NY1 first called the election for Rangel at 11:50pm, EST.

Senator Espaillat disagreed with NY1’s call. Addressing supporters in both English and Spanish at 11:30pm, he declared the race to be “too close to call,” and early Wednesday morning his campaign released a statement urging that “Given the thousands of votes outstanding, the people of Upper Manhattan and The Bronx deserve a full accounting of every vote to achieve a complete and accurate tally in this race.”

Still, Rangel appears to be the winner of the contentious primary, which is a rematch of a 2012 showdown in which Rangel held on by barely 1,000 votes. Espaillat appeared to be in a stronger position this time, given the increasingly-Hispanic nature of the district, and his long list of endorsements from labor groups such as the United Federation of Teachers.

But it appears that the path is now clear for Rangel to win a 23rd term in Congress; there will be no Republican candidate on the ballot in November.

This story has been updated

Photo: Talk Radio News Service via Flickr

Mississippi Republicans Battle In U.S. Senate Runoff

Washington (AFP) — Mississippi incumbent Thad Cochran was fighting for his political life in a Republican runoff for his U.S. Senate seat Tuesday, seeking to repulse a surging conservative challenger bucking the party establishment.

A series of primary races are similarly pitting political veterans against relative outsiders, including key contests in Oklahoma, New York, and Colorado, as the fields are sown for the congressional mid-term elections in November.

Republicans are widely expected to retain control of the House of Representatives, and with President Barack Obama’s Democrats struggling to hold the Senate, the GOP is pouring efforts into this year’s campaigns in hopes of winning both chambers of Congress.

Such an outcome would all but doom any legislative agenda Obama would want to achieve in his final two years in the White House.

Tuesday’s main event is in the southern Gulf Coast Republican stronghold of Mississippi, where 76-year-old Cochran, one of the old-guard gentlemen of the Senate, was forced into a runoff this month by state senator Chris McDaniel, a radio talk-show host backed by the anti-tax, small-government Tea Party movement.

All eyes are on the state to see if veteran Cochran goes down, much like House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his seat earlier this month to a little-known conservative professor in their Virginia primary.

That outcome sent shock waves through Washington, and empowered Tea Party-backed candidates angling for their own upsets against Republican incumbents.

With anti-Washington animosity sky-high, members of the GOP establishment have rushed to Cochran’s rescue, including 2008 presidential nominee Senator John McCain who hailed Cochran’s record on military issues.

McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, by contrast, campaigned in Mississippi last month for McDaniel.

The race has emerged as one of the most expensive primaries ever, with outside groups pouring money into both campaigns.

Cochran, nicknamed the Senate’s “King of Pork,” has been accused of squandering taxpayer money by funneling millions of dollars per year in earmarks to his state, something McDaniel has seized on while campaigning.

“This is pretty simple,” McDaniel reportedly wrote in a fundraising email.

“If you think we should keep the same guys in office that supported these outrageous spending sprees, then listen to John McCain and support Thad Cochran.”

In New York, veteran Democrat Charlie Rangel faces the toughest re-election fight of his 22-term career, in a rematch of the 2012 primary against state senator Adriano Espaillat.

Rangel, 84, leads in polls, but should he lose it would mark the end of an era in New York politics.

In Oklahoma, two-term Republican congressman James Lankford is favored to win retiring Senator Tom Coburn’s seat, but he faces strong opposition from T.W. Shannon, an African-American member of the Chickasaw Nation and former speaker of the statehouse.

AFP Photo / Justin Sullivan

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