After an extremely close race that stretched on for days, Kyrsten Sinema has officially won an essential Senate seat in Arizona, beating out Republican candidate Martha McSally to take over the seat previously held by Republican Rep. Jeff Flake.
McSally and Sinema both previously served in Congress, Sinema since 2012 and McSally since 2014. The Arizona seat was one of the Democrats’ few chances to flip seats in the Senate, making Sinema’s win all the more important.
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But she also made her own history; Sinema will now become the first openly bisexual member of the Senate and the first female senator from Arizona.
Born in Tucson, Arizona, she moved to a small town in Florida after her parents divorced when she was eight. When her stepfather lost his job, they started to stay in an abandoned gas station. She told ELLE back in 2013 that this became the defining experience of her life and her motivation to become a social worker and a politician.
After her win, Sinema tweeted, “As long as I’ve served Arizona, I’ve worked to help others see our common humanity & find common ground. That’s the same approach I’ll take to representing our great state in the Senate, where I’ll be an independent voice for all Arizonans.”