Christine Hallquist will make history as first openly transgender major party nominee for governor, CNN projects

Christine Hallquist's bid to become the country's first transgender governor will clear an historic hurdle o...

Posted: Aug 15, 2018 11:05 AM
Updated: Aug 15, 2018 11:05 AM

Christine Hallquist's bid to become the country's first transgender governor will clear an historic hurdle on Tuesday.

Hallquist will win the Democratic primary in Vermont, CNN projects, becoming the first transgender gubernatorial nominee for a major political party, a breakthrough of both substantial and symbolic importance for LGBTQ Americans, in particular the trans community, which has for so long been shut out of the highest levels of elected office.

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In an interview with CNN's Don Lemon on Tuesday night, Hallquist said the result didn't surprise her and noted Vermont's progressive record on civil rights issues. But like so many Democrats in 2018, she also pointed to Washington, DC, and President Donald Trump as her reason for jumping into a political campaign for the first time.

"There's a systematic attack and it's going to start with the most marginalized of the communities, so the fact that our President has gone after the transgender community is no surprise and I think everybody should be afraid," Hallquist told Lemon.

She also cast the current upheaval as an opportunity for new voices to emerge and reshape the conversation.

"People like myself and who normally wouldn't be in politics are rising up all over (in response to Trump's election) and I think that's what healthy democracy looks like," she said. "I'm hoping that years from now we can look back and say, 'Isn't American democracy wonderful: we survived a death spot.'"

A former energy company executive, Hallquist had established herself as a trailblazer before entering politics. She transitioned publicly during her time as leader of one of the state's largest utilities, becoming the first CEO to do so while in the job, according to the Victory Fund, a political action committee backing Hallquist and "dedicated to electing openly LGBTQ people" up and down the ballot.

"My path to being my authentic self was certainly not easy," she said upon announcing her entry into the race earlier this year. "However, it's always been important to me to live openly and honestly. I chose to transition in a very public way because I felt I owed it to those at Vermont Electric Cooperative who put their trust in me."

Hallquist campaigned on a promise to build up renewable energy and boost the state's rural economy by expanding broadband access. Backed by the Justice Democrats, the same group that helped launch Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's campaign in New York, along with the Working Families Party and Trans United Fund, Hallquist supports "Medicare for all," raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and has pledged to address racial disparities in the state's criminal justice system.

But as she told CNN in June, it was the public response to her transition that gave her the confidence to hit the campaign trail.

"I was sure I was going to lose my job. I was sure I was going to lose respect. But that didn't happen," Hallquist said. "So this describes the beauty of Vermont. Now I'm at this point where I can't do enough to give back to Vermont."

After outlasting a field of four Democratic hopefuls, one of them a teenage boy, she will now take on Republican Gov. Phil Scott, who will survive his GOP primary challenge, CNN projects. Scott regularly ranked among the most popular governors in the country early on in his two-year term, but his standing has taken a hit recently, particularly among conservatives, following his April decision to sign a bill tightening gun restrictions.

The race to unseat Scott mostly played out under the radar -- nationally and even within the state. A survey from Vermont Public Radio and Vermont PBS found voters saying as recently as a few weeks ago that they were unfamiliar with the incumbent's Democratic challengers. Hallquist, though, had the best name recognition numbers of the bunch, at 41%, 12 percentage points ahead of fellow Democrat Brenda Siegel, who will likely finish second.

Hallquist is one of more than 400 LGBTQ candidates running in this cycle, a record according to the Victory Institute. This past weekend, Hawaii's Kim Coco Iwamoto fell short in her bid for the lieutenant governor nomination in the state's Democratic primary. Another trans candidate, Democrat Alexandra Chandler, is running in a crowded primary field for the chance to replace Rep. Niki Tsongas in Massachusetts' 3rd Congressional District. In 2017, Democrat Danica Roem made history with her election to the Virginia House of Delegates, becoming its first transgender member.

The campaign ahead in Vermont figures to be an interesting one, especially given that Hallquist has said she voted for Scott -- a "nice guy," as she put it in an interview with VTDigger -- in 2016. But like so many other Democrats this year, she came out of the gates framing her bid as a moral imperative: part of a broader effort to push back against President Donald Trump.

"This is not a time in American history to sit back and be apathetic," Hallquist said at her campaign kickoff. "We must be bold in the face of the headwinds from Washington, we must be bold in the face of continuing unpredictability from Congress, and we must be bold in the face of the chaos from the White House."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319704

Reported Deaths: 7369
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22276267
Hinds20677421
Harrison18407317
Rankin13880282
Jackson13689248
Madison10249224
Lee10056176
Jones8464167
Forrest7827153
Lauderdale7260242
Lowndes6509150
Lamar634888
Lafayette6310121
Washington5420137
Bolivar4837133
Panola4669110
Oktibbeha466098
Pearl River4604147
Marshall4573105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425373
Union415777
Monroe4155135
Neshoba4061179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386687
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3369111
Alcorn325972
Scott320174
Yazoo314171
Adams307486
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298189
Tippah291968
Prentiss283861
Leake271974
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George252051
Newton248663
Tishomingo231568
Winston229981
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190374
Clay187854
Stone187833
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164034
Walthall135347
Greene131833
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127138
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108033
Tunica108027
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69532
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548323

Reported Deaths: 11288
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson809531565
Mobile42066826
Madison35663525
Tuscaloosa26162458
Shelby25595254
Montgomery25081612
Baldwin21839313
Lee16265176
Calhoun14718325
Morgan14626285
Etowah14171363
Marshall12449230
Houston10764288
Elmore10295213
Limestone10182157
St. Clair10160251
Cullman9941201
Lauderdale9596249
DeKalb8967189
Talladega8458184
Walker7335280
Autauga7230113
Blount6944139
Jackson6922113
Colbert6414140
Coffee5627127
Dale4929114
Russell454941
Chilton4472116
Franklin431083
Covington4273122
Tallapoosa4136155
Escambia401780
Chambers3726124
Dallas3607156
Clarke352961
Marion3242106
Pike314078
Lawrence3129100
Winston283572
Bibb268464
Geneva257581
Marengo250665
Pickens236862
Barbour234659
Hale226878
Butler224071
Fayette218162
Henry193843
Cherokee187245
Randolph187044
Monroe179341
Washington170439
Macon162951
Clay160159
Crenshaw155657
Cleburne153244
Lamar146537
Lowndes142054
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh113430
Coosa111429
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93534
Choctaw62025
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