Misty Snow and Misty Plowright have become the first transgender people to be nominated for a Congressional seat by a major political party, when they won their respective Democratic primary races in Utah and Colorado, though neither will be favored to win in November.
Ms. Snow, a 30-year-old grocery store cashier from Salt Lake City, bested marriage therapist Jonathan Swinton, a self-identified conservative Democrat who ran on a centrist platform, in the primary for a Utah U.S. Senate seats.
The transgender woman will now face off against incumbent Republican Sen. Mike Lee in November. Mr. Lee ran unopposed in the Republican primary and will be an overwhelming favorite in a state that has not elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate during Ms. Snow’s lifetime.
Although Mr. Swinton won the initial ballot at the state party’s Democratic convention, he failed to garner 60 percent of the vote, sending the race into a primary runoff. The unofficial returns showed Ms. Snow with a 59.5 percent-to-40.5 percent advantage.
Ms. Snow ran on a platform of increasing the minimum wage and criticized her opponent for supporting restrictions on abortion. She played up the historic nature of her candidacy.
“This shows LGBT people that being LGBT is not a barrier to running for political office,” she said. “You can be you, and people will respect you for that.”
But on Wednesday she downplayed that, saying that “Utah just has this really kind of nice culture. There’s this kind of libertarian kind of mindset. They don’t really care too much about those types of things. They just really care about where you stand on issues or whether or not you’re a good person.”
In an interview with a local CBS station in April, Ms. Snow called Mr. Lee “one of the most loathsome people in the Senate,” and said he “needs to be removed from office.”
Ms. Plowright was nominated by Democrats in Colorado’s conservative 5th Congressional District, which has never been held by a Democrat and in which the party didn’t even field a candidate in 2012. She will run in November against Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn, who easily won his primary.
A 33-year-old who works in information technology, Ms. Plowright secured the Democratic nomination over Donald Martinez, an Iraq War veteran, by 58 percent to 42 percent.
Mr. Martinez ran his campaign on a platform of reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs, citing his own difficulties receiving medical care through the embattled agency.
Ms. Plowright campaigned on an anti-establishment platform, pledging to get money out of politics. She also downplayed her gender identity.
“Yeah, I’m trans, but the simple fact of the matter is that a lot of people just don’t care,” the first-time candidate said Wednesday.
The fact that the two were nominated in races where any Democrat would have little chance didn’t surprise other Democrats. “We’re going to lose anyway; we might as well make a statement about inclusion,” Utah state Sen. Jim Dabakis, who is gay, told The Associated Press.