It’s been called the Rainbow wave. Nearly 850 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender candidates nationwide ran for public elected offices in 2020.
That wave made it to Delaware Nov. 3, with the election of LGBTQ officials in the state marking several firsts. Most notably, Sarah McBride handily won her primary for state Senate, District 1. As winner of the general election, she becomes the first transgender individual elected to a state senate in the nation.
Joining in McBride’s historic LGBTQ victory in Delaware were Marie Pinkney, Democratic state senator in the 13th district, which runs just south of Wilmington down to Bear, and Eric Morrison, Delaware House of Representatives, for the 27th District, in the Newark/Glasgow/Bear area. Both also openly identify as LGBTQ.
As the only LGBTQ community center in southern Delaware and the Delmarva Peninsula, CAMP Rehoboth organizers celebrate and applaud the election of openly LGBTQ people regardless of their party affiliation. It is an exciting opportunity for the community to come together and acknowledge both the strides made in the fight for equality, as well as the road and challenges still ahead, thy said.
Several CAMP Rehoboth staff remarked how powerful it was to hear McBride say, “I’ve never voted for someone like me before,” when she voted for herself in the Delaware State Primary in early June.
“History has been made,” said David Mariner, executive director of CAMP Rehoboth. “LGBTQ youth growing up in Delaware now know that their sexual orientation or gender identity is not a barrier to serving their neighbors as an elected official in the Delaware state Legislature."
Morrison and Pinkney both beat longtime incumbents during their Delaware primaries. Their general election wins, in conjunction with McBride's, speak volumes to the sentiment of the good and fair-minded residents of Delaware choosing wisely.
McBride spoke to CAMP Rehoboth staff member Anita Broccolino soon after her win. “McBride understands the momentous nature of her win and especially its meaning for the future of our community and our country. Her speech in 2016 at the Democratic National Convention as the first openly transgender person to speak at a major party convention, was just the beginning of her history making,” Broccolino said.
"I am so excited to be joining Sen. Pinkney and Rep. Morrison at Legislative Hall and to form our state's first LGBTQ legislative caucus,” said McBride. “We know that representation is key, and that diversity in our government is a sign of a true and healthy democracy. The Nov. 3 results reflect that voters across Delaware are judging candidates based on their ideas, not their identities. They also send a powerful message to a young LGBTQ kid that the heart of our state is big enough to love them, too. We have accomplished a lot today on behalf of all Delawareans, and I could not be more grateful for the outpouring of support our campaign received from Delaware's LGBTQ community. Together, we are ensuring that Delaware lives up to our values as a state of neighbors."
McBride ran her campaign on issues like infrastructure, improving schools, and healthcare, especially paid family and medical leave. Morrison and Pinkney both echoed similar issues of importance in their campaigns.
“All three were solid candidates and all three ran with those they serve in mind, vowing to keep their constituents at the forefront of their decisions. In this unprecedented year, CAMP Rehoboth applauds their efforts, dedication and willingness to serve. We wish them only the best as they begin this new chapter, representing all of us," said Chris Beagle, board president, CAMP Rehoboth. “These elections mark an important step forward for the rights and equality of all. CAMP Rehoboth remains proud of all in our community who ran for office, and have chosen to serve their communities with honesty, integrity and openness.”