Arizona woman to become 1st openly bisexual member of Congress
PHOENIX — Former Democratic state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has been elected to represent a new Phoenix-area congressional district, emerging victorious after a bitterly fought race that featured millions of dollars in attack ads.
Sinema had a narrow lead on election night that made the race too close to call. But she slowly improved that advantage as more ballots were tallied in recent days, and by Monday had a nearly 6,000-vote edge that was too much for Republican Vernon Parker to overcome.
Sinema becomes the first openly bisexual member of Congress. Her victory came in a year when three states approved gay marriage and at least five openly gay Democrats were elected to House seats. A Wisconsin congresswoman also became the first openly gay person elected to the Senate.
“I am honored and ready to start working for the people of Arizona,” Sinema said.
The 36-year-old was in New York City on Monday for an event held by a women's group and was headed to Washington on Tuesday for congressional orientation.
Parker called her to congratulate her on the victory.
“While I had wished for a different outcome, I will continue my public service so that everybody can follow the American dream just like I did,” Parker said in a statement.
During the race, Parker was criticized by Democrats as a Tea Party radical who would hurt children by cutting the federal Education Department.
Republicans countered saying Sinema was too liberal for the newly-established district and doesn't understand stay-at-home moms.
Parker took the national stage briefly in September when he gave the GOP weekly address. He focused on stopping expected tax hikes and developing a tax code he said would help the economy grow and prevent jobs from being sent overseas.
Sinema said she had the ability to work across party lines. She said she developed the skill during her eight years in the state Legislature, where she was always in the minority. She also said she was committed to women's issues.
Sinema's congressional district covers parts of Phoenix and several suburbs, including the small, affluent town of Paradise Valley where Parker was once mayor.
Republicans had a slight registration advantage, but both parties' totals were exceeded by independents.
One other Arizona congressional race remains undecided. Rep. Ron Barber, the hand-picked successor to Gabrielle Giffords, had a lead of a few hundred votes over Republican Martha McSally in the southeastern Arizona district centered on Tucson.
With more than 267,000 ballots counted as of Monday afternoon, Barber had a lead of about 700 votes. However, thousands more ballots remained to be processed.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kittanning soccer snaps 33-game losing streak
- Turek a 50-year fixture as local coach
- Elizabeth Forward volleyball team keeps winning, despite new look
- Offense awakens to lead Steelers past Panthers
- Game changers: Turnover leads to elusive TD for Steelers
- Kiski Valley Water Pollution Control Authority communities well on their way to completion of sewer projects
- Penguins notebook: Carcillo hopes to give team physical edge
- Penguins forward Megna’s skill set might be perfect fit
- PA will deal online poker in 2017, financial analysis says
- Inside the glass: Penguins’ Martin, Ehrhoff look comfortable together
- Beads in beauty products called toxin