Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you?
We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching today on the campaign trail.
The strong possibility of Jones and Torres serving in the House of Representatives has galvanized the LGBTQ community during Pride Month, as well as Americans of color, as nationwide protests over racial injustice continue to take place.
“The affirmation from nearly 50 percent of Democrats in my district is, I think, really powerful,” Jones, who is running to replace retiring Rep. Nita Lowey (D) in the 17th District, told The Hill.
“I spent a lot of my life questioning whether I could live as an openly gay person, and so now to be one of the most openly gay, Black people in media right now, it’s quite a change of pace.”
Torres, who would replace outgoing Rep. José Serrano (D) in the 15th District, noted the significance of having two black men serving in New York’s congressional delegation 50 years after Stonewall.
New York holds special significance for LGBTQ Americans as the home of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar that police raided in 1969, leading to days of riots and eventually the modern gay rights movement in the U.S.
“It is shocking that New York City, which is the birthplace of Stonewall, has no LGBTQ representation in the congressional delegation,” Torres said.
However, thousands of votes are still being counted in the two districts. As of Election Night, Jones held 43 percent of the vote in the state's 17th District, while his closest opponent in the seven-person contest, Adam Schleifer, had 20 percent. In the 15th District, Torres held 30 percent of the vote, while his closest opponent in the 12-person race, Michael Blake, stood at 19 percent.
Jones will likely face Republican Maureen McArdle Schulman in the general election if they both win their primaries, while Torres would face Orlando Molina (R). Both districts lean overwhelmingly Democratic.
LGBTQ organizations are hopeful that potential wins from Torres and Jones would galvanize their voters ahead of the general election in November.
“It is illustrative of what we’ve done in other races, and what we’re going to do moving into November,” Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David said. “LGBTQ voters, pro-equality voters, all over the country are energized and mobilized to vote in this election.”
“I’m going to be out there doing whatever I can to get him elected,” Jones said. “I think what he needs to do is unite the left flank of the party behind him because we cannot afford to have disaffected not going out to support him.”