Gubernatorial candidate Christine Hallquist has won Vermont’s Democratic primary race, becoming the first openly transgender gubernatorial candidate from a major political party in the United States.
At the time of publication, she was leading the four-person pack by about 25 percent. She will face incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Scott in November.
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) August 15, 2018
Hallquist told the Associated Press that her progressive platform for Vermont includes Medicare for all, living wages, free public college education, and high-speed internet access for all.
“That’s how I want to be known in Vermont,” Hallquist told the AP earlier this week. “Nationally, I want to be known as the first trans candidate.”
Hallquist beat three other Democrats Tuesday, including festival organizer Brenda Siegel, environmental activist James Ehlers, and 14-year-old Ethan Sonneborn. (Vermont has no age limit on running for public office, and Sonneborn had managed to rack up about 1,500 vote at of the time of publication.)
Hallquist transitioned in 2015, while working as CEO of Vermont Electric Cooperative.
“I was sure I was going to lose my job. I was sure I was going to lose respect. But that didn’t happen,” she told CNN recently. “So this describes the beauty of Vermont. Now I’m at this point where I can’t do enough to give back to Vermont.”
She left her job earlier this year to run for governor. CNN also reported that Hallquist voted in 2016 for Scott, her new opponent, but sees her campaign as part of the effort to stop President Trump, whose election victory inspired her to run.
“I went to bed [on election night in 2016], and of course like any other trauma I was in political depression and I just didn’t know what to do,” she told the Guardian Monday. “I mean, many of us in this country shed a lot of tears for what happened on November 8.”
Hallquist is one of a record number of LGBTQ people running for office this year. Nearly 400 LGBTQ people mounted campaigns, and about 200 are expected to be on the ballot this November, according to the AP.
Hallquist’s win comes just days after another transgender candidate, Kim Coco Iwamoto, lost her race to be Hawaii’s lieutenant governor. In Massachusetts, another trans candidate, Alexandra Chandler, is running to replace Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA).
Last year, Danica Roem became the first openly transgender person elected to a state legislature, beating Republican Del. Bob Marshall in Virginia.