In addition to making some pretty historic firsts, last night’s Democratic primaries were a big win for progressive women who support Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, and tuition-free college.
In Minnesota, state representative Ilhan Omar won the Democratic primary to fill Representative Keith Ellison’s seat in the state’s Fifth Congressional District, beating out five other candidates in a packed race. In a district that leans heavily Democratic, Omar is likely to join Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib as two of the first Muslim women in Congress, and would become the first Somali American elected to the House.
“Together we can organize around the politics of hope and make sure that not only did we have the America we believed in but the America we deserve,” Omar told her supporters last night.
In Connecticut, Jahana Hayes, a former “Teacher of the Year,” beat out a long-time Democratic politician in the state’s Fifth Congressional District. Hayes, if she wins the general election in November, would become the first black Democrat to represent the state in Congress. Hayes campaigned heavily on her support for Medicare for All, laying out her platform in a post on Medium: “We should not have to choose between the health of our family members and paying the rent. Seniors should not choose between their prescription drugs and their groceries for the week. We can do better.”
And in Vermont, Christine Hallquist won the Democratic gubernatorial primary, becoming the first openly transgender candidate to be a major party’s nominee for governor. Hallquist, who is the former CEO of the Vermont Electric Coop, touted her progressive credentials during her campaign. “Vermonters are going to elect me on the platform,” she said.
“Tonight, we made history,” Hallquist said at her victory party last night, according to the New York Times. “I am so proud to be the face of the Democrats tonight.” Hallquist faces an uphill battle, as she will be squaring off against a relatively popular Republican incumbent.
It’s great that record numbers of women are running for office—what’s even better is that many of them, like Hayes, Hallquist, and Omar, are running as defiant progressives.