WASHINGTON - The United States will have its first openly bisexual member of Congress, with a Democrat on Monday winning a tight race in the increasingly competitive southwestern state of Arizona.
Kyrsten Sinema, 36, who supports President Barack Obama's health care reform and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers, was ahead by around three percentage points in the November 6 election, results showed.
Republican Vernon Parker, a rare African American in the right-wing Tea Party movement, called Sinema to congratulate her on winning the newly created seat in the Phoenix area, local CBS television affiliate KPHO reported.
Sinema, who served in the state Senate, was raised in a conservative Mormon family. In an interview in August with the gay-oriented Washington Blade, Sinema said she had been out all of her adult life and accused her opponent in the Democratic primary of using her sexual orientation against her.
Arizona has historically been a stronghold of the Republican Party.
Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, re-elected self-styled "America's toughest sheriff" Joe Arpaio whose fervor against undocumented immigrants has led the Obama administration to accuse him of ethnic discrimination.
But a Democrat won a surprisingly close race for Arizona's open US Senate seat, leading some pundits to believe that the state's growing Hispanic population will help change its political orientation.
A Democrat retains a narrow edge in a too-close-to-call congressional race in Arizona for the seat formerly held by Gabrielle Giffords, who was seriously injured in a January 2011 shooting that killed six people.
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