Colorado's Fifth Congressional District Democrats chose Army veteran Misty Plowright to represent the their party in the race against incumbent Doug Lamborn (R) in November.
Along with Misty Snow, who won a Democratic primary Tuesday to compete for a senate seat in Utah, Plowright is one of the first two openly transgender women to be on a major-party ticket for congress.
Plowright says it took a long time to be able to take action publicly, given her identity as a trans woman. "For so long I was content to stay in the shadows," she says, "because it's safe there."
But this spring, while attending the Colorado caucus to choose the Democratic presidential nominee, she realized voting and caucusing weren't enough.
"I can't stay on the sidelines anymore," she says. "At the federal level, the large money interests just are too powerful. Congress spends most of their time during the day trying to raise money for their campaigns. And that's absurd."
Plowright defeated her opponent Donald Martinez, garnering 56.9% of Tuesday's votes. An El Paso County elections office spokesperson says a quarter of the district's registered Democrats participated in the primary, which is a higher portion than usual.
Martinez endorsed Plowright on Facebook, but says he isn't optimistic about her chances in the race against Lamborn.
"This is a district that's heavily Republican, and they're not going to take her seriously. That's just the sad reality," he says.
A democrat has never won District 5, but Plowright says this election, victory is possible.
"Historically, I don't think democrats have done a very good job of reaching out to Libertarians, Unaffiliateds, Greens, and even to Republicans in this district," she says. "I'm in it to win it."
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