New York City Councilmember Ritchie Torres won the Democratic primary for New York’s 15th Congressional District, defeating an anti-LGBTQ opponent and putting him on-track to become the first openly LGBTQ Afro-Latinx member of Congress. The seat is one of the safest in the country for Democrats, almost guaranteeing Torres will win in November. He will join Mondaire Jones, who also won his primary for New York’s 17th Congressional District last night in a safe district, in becoming the first two Black openly LGBTQ members of Congress when they win in November.
In the weeks before the primary, polls showed Torres and Rubén Díaz Sr. – one of the most homophobic and transphobic Democrats running for Congress – neck-and-neck with seven additional progressive candidates trailing far behind. In early June, LGBTQ Victory Fund led a coalition of LGBTQ groups in calling for progressive candidates to drop from the race and support Torres to avoid Diaz winning the seat by default. Earlier, Victory Fund joined Planned Parenthood Action Fund and NARAL Pro-Choice America in leading a coalition of organizations calling on voters to defeat Díaz.
Victory Fund invested heavily in Torres’ race, raising more than $48,000 for the campaign, directly contributing the maximum amount of $5,000 and providing additional visibility through its earned media and social media programs.
Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, released the following statement about Torres’ and Jones’ primary victory:
“Voters in the Bronx rejected the politics of bigotry and instead put Ritchie on track to become the first openly LGBTQ Afro-Latinx member of Congress. At a time when our country is divided and we confront the realities of racism and police brutality, it is essential we have a voice like Ritchie’s fighting to turn the demands of protesters into legislative change at the federal level. While he will make history in November, we know Ritchie runs not to put his name in the record book, but to continue his work to expand and improve affordable housing and secure criminal justice reform for his constituents.
“Richie and Mondaire have shattered a long-standing political barrier with their primary wins, putting them on-track to becoming the first two openly LGBTQ Black members of Congress. Black LGBTQ people – like all LGBTQ people – are severely underrepresented at every level of government, but this gives hope that we are moving toward building a U.S. Congress that is more representative of the people it serves.”
Victory Fund also worked closely with Jones throughout the campaign. Victory Fund was Jones’ first national endorsement and invested heavily in his race. Victory Fund raised more than $20,000 for his campaign, directly contributed the maximum amount of $5,000 and provided additional visibility through its earned media and social media programs.