Three Out Candidates of Color Poised to Win in NY

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday June 29, 2020

New York City Council Member Ritchie Torres
New York City Council Member Ritchie Torres  (Source:AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

It wasn't that long ago that being openly gay was seen as a way for a politician to lose votes, but a trio of candidates of color in New York may be about to show that the time has come to discard that outmoded way of thinking. Moreover, their probable victories may represent a deep thirst for change in an America exhausted by four years of division and discord.

Two of the candidates, Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones, seem likely to win the Democratic primaries for their congressional districts, TIME Magazine reports. Absentee ballots are still being tabulated and the count is slated to be complete as of June 30.

Notes TIME:

Both candidates are running in districts viewed as Democratic strongholds; if they win come November, Torres and Jones would be the first openly gay Black members of Congress. Torres would also be the first openly gay Afro-Latino congressman.

Torres' race for the 15th Congressional District, which includes the New York City borough of the Bronx, is especially noteworthy in that it seems Torres is about to beat longtime anti-LGBTQ pol and Trump supporter Rubén Díaz Sr. Diaz was thought to have better name recognition, being a prominent minister and former state senator, and it was also thought he would have the advantage of the Democratic vote being split by a crowded field fo candidates. Torres also has name recognition, though, already having made history by being elected as an out gay man to the New York City Council.

Torres said in remarks tweeted y Spectrum News NY1 that winning would be "the culmination of a dream," but, he cautioned, "we have to count every ballot."

Reported TIME:

On Tuesday night, Dave Wasserman, an editor of the non-partisan Cook Political Report, called the race for Torres.

Meantime, Diaz was trailing badly, noted AMNY.

Out candidate Mondaire Jones looks likely to win his race in the Democratic primary for the 17th Congressional District, which includes part of Hudson Valley.

Both candidates rose above crowded fields of contenders. Because both districts are solidly Democratic, it is expected that the winners of the primaries will handily win the general election and join the U.S. House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, Samuel N. Olivares - described by text at his web site as "a Puerto Rican-Dominican, queer, progressive activist" - was far in the lead to claim the seat of District Leader in Assembly District 53.

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