Christine Hallquist made history Tuesday night as the first transgender person in the United States to win the gubernatorial nomination for a major political party, according to unofficial results from the Vermont Secretary of State’s office.
Hallquist, a former energy company executive, won the Democratic primary in Vermont and will face Republican Gov. Phil Scott in November.
In a field of four candidates, Hallquist won more than 40 percent of the vote, more than twice the votes of the second place finisher, according to unofficial results.
Before entering public service, Hallquist had established herself as a trailblazer. She transitioned publicly in 2015 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.”
“My path to being my authentic self was certainly not easy,” Hallquist said in a YouTube videoannouncing 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.
“With tonight’s primary win, Christine is a huge step closer to becoming the first openly trans governor in U.S. history.” Daye Pope, organizing director with Trans United Fund said in a statement. “Tonight shows that Vermont — and the country — is ready to vote for trans and nonbinary candidates who care about the people and can get things done. In our mission of building trans and nonbinary political power across the country, Christine is a champion we’re proud to support.”
Hallquist is one of more than 400 LGBTQ candidates in the nation who are running in this election cycle, a record according to the Victory Institute.