Hundreds of thousands of voters across New England and the Midwest participated in their states respective primaries for local, state, and federal offices last night. These races will determine political party nominees to compete in the general election in November. Winners of these primaries have made monumental political history and encountered major controversies.
In Vermont, a predominantly progressive state, Independent Senator Bernie Sanders won overwhelmingly in the Democratic primary for his own reelection, and former Vermont Electric Cooperative CEO Christine Hallquist won the Democratic primary for governor, becoming the first transgender female nominee for governor of a major political party in the country.
Endorsed by Justice Democrats and the Working Families Party, Hallquist, who ran on a platform advocating for a higher minimum wage and universal health care, will go on to compete against incumbent Republican Governor Phil Scott, and if elected, she will become the first openly transgender woman governor in the history of the US.
In neighboring Connecticut, 2016 National Teacher of the Year award recipient Jahana Hayes, who was endorsed by California Senator Kamala Harris, won her primary for Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District. If elected in the primarily safe Democratic seat, she will become the state’s first African-American congresswoman.
In the country’s heartland, progressive activists celebrated local union ironworker Randy Bryce’s primary victory in Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, where Republican U.S. Speaker Paul Ryan currently serves — until his retirement from Congress in 2019. Bryce’s opponent, former educator Cathy Myers, criticised his electability and character over previous arrests for illegal cannabis usage and a DUI, as well as child support delinquency.
In nearby Minnesota, Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison won the Democratic primary for state attorney general despite recent allegations of physical domestic violence against his former girlfriend and the Democratic National Committee’s current review of these accusations. Ellison’s replacement in the House of Representatives is going to be Minnesota state legislator Ilhan Omar. Most likely elected in a predominantly liberal district containing Minneapolis during the fall, Omar, a former refugee, will become the country’s and the state’s first Somali American congresswoman and one of the first Muslim congresswomen, after Rashida Tlaib in Michigan.
Other key battleground states like Florida and Arizona will hold their primaries in late August.
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