Delaware state senator Sarah McBride launches bid to be first trans member of Congress

The highest-ranking transgender elected official in the United States, Sarah McBride, has launched a bid to become Delaware’s sole member of the US House of Representatives.

McBride is currently a senator in the Delaware state legislature and, if successful, would become the first trans person to be elected to federal office.

Lisa Blunt Rochester, the state’s current house representative, announced last week that she would be running at the next election to replace senator Tom Carper, who is retiring.

Speaking to Delaware Online, McBride said she was “certainly cognisant of the uniqueness of my candidacy, of the uniqueness that my voice would bring to the halls of Congress”.

But, she added, “Ultimately, I’m not running to be a trans member of Congress,“ instead she was “focused on making progress on all of the issues that matter to Delawareans of every background”.

Having diversity among elected officials was necessary for a health democracy, she said.

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The approach is reminiscent of McBride’s campaign for the state senate, where she ran on the notion of serving as a “senator who happens to be transgender”.

McBride’s campaign video highlights her message of making “government work better for people”.

She also took aim at politicians who she said want to “divide” society, showing footage of controversial figures Florida governor Ron DeSantis and US house representative Majorie Taylor Greene.

“Blocking out the noise and focusing on what actually matters isn’t easy… it takes guts and a backbone,” McBride said.

The election is set to take place in November 2024.

Who is Sarah McBride?

McBride, 32, was elected to the Delaware State Senate in November 2020. It made her the first openly trans state senator in the US, as well as the highest-ranking trans elected official in the country.

Prior to her election, she had worked for LGBTQ+ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign.

In 2014, she was thanked by Delaware’s then-governor Jack Markell, for her work in helping introduce legislation to ban gender-identity discrimination in areas such as housing and employment.

As a state senator, McBride sponsored a bill that gives eligible workers up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. It was passed in early 2022 and will come into effect from the start of 2025.

According to Delaware Online, she has long been viewed as the front runner to succeed Rochester.