Mondaire Jones declared victory on Tuesday in the Democratic primary for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives from New York, putting him on track to become the first openly gay Black member of Congress.
The 33-year-old will still face a Republican opponent in the November general election, former New York City firefighter Maureen McArdle Schulman, but the district is heavily and historically Democratic.
“Growing up poor, black, and gay, I never imagined someone like me could run for Congress, let alone win,” Jones said in a statement. “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, thanks to the great people of New York’s 17th Congressional District.”
Jones, a progressive attorney, beat seven other contenders in the primary for the nomination to the open seat; the incumbent, Representative Nita Lowey, is retiring. Jones was endorsed by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a former presidential candidate, as well as another New York progressive, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The election was held on June 23, but the results were delayed by the counting of large numbers of mail-in ballots.