Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona, may soon be the first openly bisexual member of the U.S. Congress.
Of the votes tallied from Election Day, Sinema walked away with a less than two percentage point lead over her Republican opponent, Vernon Parker. Early voting totals are still being counted by the Maricopa County Elections Department, but Sinema's campaign announced in a statement from Wednesday that she had taken a lead of over 2,700 votes.
"With tens of thousands of ballots remaining to be counted, we expect to see ups and downs over the next several days. In the end, we are confident that final counts will show Kyrsten Sinema to be the highest vote-getter and she will be sworn into Congress in January," the statement from her campaign staff says.
If Sinema wins the election she will be the first openly bisexual member of Congress, as well as the only openly atheist member in Congress after Pete Stark failed to reclaim his seat representing the 13th District of California on Tuesday. Groups like the Secular Coalition for America (SCA) and the American Humanist Association (AHA), while happy about Sinema's success, have also expressed their disappointment in Stark's failure to get re-elected.
Stark has served in Congress since 1973, and helped write the Affordable Care Act as chairman of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee. Earlier this year, he took to the House floor to recognize the 2012 National Day of Reason – an event supported by SCA and AHA.
"I encourage everyone to join in observing this day and focusing upon the employment of reason, critical thinking, the scientific method, and free inquiry to improve our world and our nation," said Stark in his floor statement.
Sinema's opponent, the 52-year-old Parker, is a town council member in Paradise Valley, Ariz., and has served as a special assistant to President George H.W. Bush and as an assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for The Salvation Army, and served as interim minister of his church for two years.
The Christian Post was unable to reach Parker or his staff for comment by press time.