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Utah’s Misty Snow makes history as Dems’ transgender Senate nominee

Utah voters picked a historic, and largely unknown, Democratic candidate to challenge Sen. Mike Lee this November.

Misty K. Snow is the first transgender nominee from a major party to run for a U.S. Senate seat and she shares the distinction of being the first transgender person to run for Congress. Misty Plowright, a transgender woman, claimed the Democratic nomination in Colorado’s conservative 5th House District on Tuesday.

“A lot of people have told me whether I win or lose, I’m already making a difference just by running,” Snow said.

Throughout the primary, the 30-year-old Salt Lake City resident has given scant attention to her potentially historic status. She instead has campaigned on a progressive platform and promised to aggressively challenge Lee, whom she has repeatedly called “loathsome.”

In unofficial primary returns, Snow had a 59.5 percent to 40.5 percent lead over Jonathan Swinton.

A marriage therapist, Swinton is 35 years old and Mormon. He described himself as a conservative Democrat who sought to govern as a centrist, similar to former Rep. Jim Matheson and Doug Owens, who is running against Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, for the second time.

Snow jumped in the race shortly before the filing deadline because she wanted to offer an alternative to Swinton. And while Swinton led in the state convention, Snow notched enough support to force a primary, largely by criticizing Swinton for advocating for limits to abortion rights.

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It appears Utah Democrats were similarly eager to try a different approach against Lee, one of the nation’s most conservative senators. Lee faced no challenge from within his party as he seeks a second six-year term.

Swinton said the results were “discouraging.”

“We hoped more Democrats were really looking at the long game at this, trying to unseat Mike Lee,” he said. “The reality is I’ve done my absolute best and run an honorable campaign.”

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