After a week of ballot counting, the New York Times reports that Arizona Democrat Rep. Kyrsten Sinema has won her Senate race against Republican Martha McSally. Sinema’s win came down to tens of thousands of votes, counted meticulously by Arizona election officials over the last several days. She will replace the retiring Sen. Jeff Flake next year. This win makes her the first Democratic to take an open Arizona Senate seat since 1976.
Sinema, once a Green Party anti-war activist, became a centrist Democrat after she was elected to the House of Representatives in 2012. Her activist past was used against her by McSally, a former Air Force pilot. In recent years, Sinema has often voted along conservative lines.
Sinema isn’t just unique in Congress because of her political background. She has been open about growing up in poverty, and the discrimination she’s faced as a bisexual woman.
The Times attributes Sinema’s victory in part to mass Latinx voter registration in the state and an awakening of that demographic’s political consciousness after Trump’s election.
“I have never been into politics until this year,” Oralia Ochoa, a 26-year-old first-time voter and Sinema supporter told the Times. “It all has to do with Trump and what’s going on.”