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In historic bid, transgender Delaware state senator launches congressional campaign

Sarah McBride and Katie Couric speak onstage during the Women In The World summit on April 11, 2019 in New York City.
Mike Coppola
Getty Images
Sarah McBride and Katie Couric speak onstage during the Women In The World summit on April 11, 2019 in New York City.

Delaware State Sen. Sarah McBride has announced a congressional run to succeed fellow Democrat Lisa Blunt Rochester as the state's at-large member, launching a historic bid that could place her as the first openly transgender person to serve in the U.S. House.

"My commitment is to people in Delaware who aren't seen, who don't shout the loudest or fund political campaigns," McBride said in a video announcing her candidacy Monday. "Everyone deserves a member of Congress who sees them and respects them."

In her video, McBride references her track record in Delaware politics, including the passage of Healthy Delaware Families Act, which provided paid family and medical leave.

"This campaign isn't just about making history – it's about moving forward. To strengthen our democracy, we need effective leaders who believe in taking bold action and building bridges for lasting progress," McBride said in a statement, noting her agenda includes addressing gun violence, protecting access to abortion rights and tackling climate change.

McBride has already secured key endorsements, including Attorney General Kathy Jennings, Delaware elected officials and labor leaders.

McBride, 32, has long been considered a rising star in Delaware politics. She worked for former Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and the late Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden. In 2012, she worked as an intern in the Obama administration. She was the first transgender person to speak at the political convention of a major party in 2016, and she has worked as a national spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign.

She won her state Senate seat in 2020 with over 70 percent of the general election vote.

In 2018, she authored a memoir called Tomorrow Will Be Different, which includes a foreword from President Biden.

McBride's announcement comes as Republican-led state legislatures have been putting forth a slate of bills targeting transgender people.

The Human Rights Campaignissued a reportearlier this month that found more than 75 bills aimed at the LGBTQ community were signed into law in 2023. The organization declared a "state of emergency" for LGBTQ Americans.

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Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.