New Yorkers Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torres are running for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives from New York’s 17th and 15th districts, respectively. Securing wins will make them the first openly black gay men in Congress.
Both Jones and Torres are leading in their races as of press time, according to the New York Times election tracker. Torres, a two-time city councilman, is seeking to replace the incumbent, Jose Serrano. The 30-year-old congressional veteran is not seeking reelection.
The race has garnered national attention due to one of the challengers, Ruben Diaz Sr., who is a Pentecostal minister who has a history of homophobia and transphobia. Diaz has previously said that New York’s city council is “controlled by the homosexual community.” Diaz is also a supporter of President Donald Trump.
Both men are highly-qualified Democrats who support Joe Biden and have secured endorsements from The New York Times, The Daily News and Mayor David Dinkins.
“I have tremendous respect for Vice President Biden,” Jones said, “I think he needs encouragement. I plan to be that encouragement.” While Torres stated: honored to earn the endorsement of Mayor David Dinkins. As the only Mayor of color in the history of NYC, Mayor Dinkins is a statesman with singular stature in the Democratic Party. His support is one of the highest honors I could hope for."