Ritchie Torres, Mondaire Jones become first openly gay Black men elected to Congress

Both men won their house seats in New York

Graig Graziosi
Wednesday 04 November 2020 06:33 GMT
2020 election results
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Democratic candidates Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones have made history after becoming the first openly gay Black men elected to Congress.  

Both men won their house seats in New York. In June, Mr Jones won a primary race against sitting Rep. Nita Lowery in New York's 17th District.  

Mr Torres, who also has Latino heritage, won his primary which he ran to replace Rep. Jose Serrano, who was retiring from his seat in the 15th District.  

Mr Torres is also the first openly gay elected official on the New York City Council. He won the seat when he was 25 years old.  

The race for Mr Serrano's seat attracted 13 candidates, including Ruben Diaz Sr, who supports Donald Trump and expressed anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage policy positions.  

Ultimately Mr Torres defeated all of the challengers in the primary to become the party's nominee.  

At the time, he said his win was "poetic justice".

US Rep-elect Mondaire Jones becomes one of first two openly gay black men elected to Congress.  (AP)

"Look, the triumph of an openly LGBTQ congressional candidate over a leading homophobic in state politics — that to me represents long-overdue poetic justice," he said. 

"What better way to celebrate Pride Month than to defeat the politics of homophobia?"

Mr Jones is yet another example of a successful progressive insurgent candidate unseating a sitting Democrat. He previously told CBS that the possibility of being one of two openly gay Black men elected to Congress was a hefty weight.

"It is a lot of responsibility," Mr Jones said. "I'm happy to be providing that kind of representation for so many young people and older people all throughout my district and all throughout this country who have reached out to me and said, 'I'm so inspired by what you're doing. You give me hope and I can be my authentic self in a world filled with so much injustice,' and it's really an honor to be able to do that."

Mr Jones told The New York Times that he never imagined someone like him could win, or even run, for Congress.  

“Growing up poor, Black, and gay, I never imagined someone like me could run for Congress, let alone win,” Mr Jones is quoted as saying. 

“Indeed, in the 244-year history of the United States, there has never been an openly gay, Black member of Congress. That changes this year.”

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