Transgender and LGBT rights activist Sarah McBride announced on Tuesday that she is running for a seat in the Delaware State Senate in a Wilmington area district where she was born and raised and currently resides.
McBride, 28, is running for a seat held by incumbent Democrat Sen. Harris McDowell, Delaware’s longest serving state senator, who announced he is retiring at the end of his term in 2020 and will not seek re-election next year.
“I’ve spent my life fighting for people to have dignity, peace of mind, and a fair shot at staying afloat and getting ahead,” said McBride in a July 9 statement. “Sen. McDowell’s retirement at the end of this term is a well-deserved cap on a remarkable career of public service, and now our neighbors need someone who will continue to fight for them,” she said.
Her statement notes that she has been active in local politics and issue campaigns beginning at a young age, and while in college at American University in D.C. she served as an intern at the Obama White House, becoming the first openly transgender person to work in any capacity at the White House.
She currently serves as National Press Secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, the D.C.-based national LGBT advocacy group. A spokesperson for her state senate campaign said she has been working since 2017 for HRC in a Wilmington office.
Delaware’s 1st Senate District includes parts of Wilmington and the towns of Bellefonte and Claymont in New Castle County.
In 2013, McBride joined the Board of Directors of the statewide LGBT advocacy group Equality Delaware and became one of the leading advocates for the state’s gender identity non-discrimination legislation. Then-Gov. Jack Markell signed the measure into law in June 2013.
McBride became the first openly transgender person to address a major party convention in 2016 when she spoke at the Democratic National Convention.
As of the time she announced her candidacy for the State Senate seat on Tuesday, no other candidate has come forward to run for the seat. Political observers say they expect one or more other Democrats to challenge McBride for the nomination for the seat in the September 2020 Democratic primary in a district in which Democrats are the clear majority.
“At the end of the day, I’m not running to be a transgender state senator,” McBride told Wilmington’s radio news station WDEL FM. “I’m running to be a senator who serves her community, I’m running to be a senator who fights for affordable healthcare, I’m running to be a senator who works to expand access to paid leave and reform our broken criminal justice system,” she said. “Those will be my priorities.”