Nearly a week after Election Day, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema was declared the winner in the race to represent Arizona’s new 9th District in the U.S. House of Representatives in a close contest with Republican Vernon Parker.
When Sinema joins Congress in January, she will be the first openly bisexual member on Capitol Hill, the Associated Press reported. She currently serves as an Arizona state senator.
“I am grateful for the honor and the opportunity to serve the people of Arizona again,” Sinema said in a statement on her campaign website. “My job is to represent all of the people in CD9 whether they voted for me or not. The voters have given us a clear ‘to do’ list – work to fix our economy, reduce our ballooning debt and better protect the middle class. I am eager to get to work and I intend to team up with anyone of any party who is willing to help change Congress and move our country forward.”
The Sinema-Parker race was too close to call on Election Day, but on Monday Sinema was declared the winner by some 6,000 votes, KPHO reported.
Parker, a 52-year-old former mayor of Paradise Valley, near Phoenix, conceded Monday to Sinema.
"Today I called Kyrsten Sinema and congratulated her on her win,” Parker said in a statement, according to KPHO. "I want to thank the voters and the people of Arizona and certainly hope we can work together to get this economy moving again, by putting politics aside and putting the American people first. 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."
Arizona’s new 9th Congressional District includes the city of Tempe and portions of Chandler, Mesa and Scottsdale.
Sinema’s victory came in a year when five other openly gay Democrats won House seats, a record. U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., also made history when she was elected as the first openly gay woman to win a U.S. Senate seat.