Transgender Candidate Fights on in Senate Race

Misty K. Snow, a 31-year-old grocery store cashier who is also transgender, won the Utah Democratic nomination for Senate. Snow, who openly transitioned in 2014, is trying to become the first Democratic senator from Utah in nearly 40 years. She is the second transgender person to secure a major party nomination in a national election.

The unapologetic progressive decided to run after party front-runner Jonathan Swinton, who describes himself as a “conservative Democrat,” expressed his desire to defund Planned Parenthood. Believing Utah deserved a more liberal alternative, Snow threw herself into the race. If Snow hadn’t decided to run, Swinton would have secured the nomination uncontested. Her decision to face Swinton led to the first Democratic primary in Utah since 1992. The results were striking; Snow won by receiving 60 percent of total votes.

Coming out of the Sen. Bernie Sanders vision of a more liberal America, Snow hangs her political hat on raising the minimum wage, paid maternity leave, marijuana legalization, wall street reform and clean energy and air.

This summer, residents of the beehive state were surveyed by Utah Foundation on what issues they find most important. The three most important issues in Snow’s platform were aligned with the results of the survey: healthcare, air quality and education.

Snow is facing an uphill battle against a well-known incumbent who is running for his third term in office as a senator of Utah, Republican Mike Lee. Before their October 12 debate at Brigham Young University, Lee polled double the amount of support compared to Snow. Snow’s inexperience on the political stage was apparent that night, but her passion for the issues was palpable.

During the debate, Snow pointed out that she would be the first millennial elected into Senate. “I am someone who will be a new voice in congress, a voice that is needed, a voice that is currently underrepresented. A voice that will truly represent working-class people in this country,” said Snow in her opening statement.

The senate election is on November 8th, and Snow is facing a striking disadvantage when it comes to finances, raising just over $6,000 to compete with Lee’s $1 million in campaign financing.

But Snow is hopeful that her story as a young transgender politician will increase the interest in potential donors, as well as showing young people that they can make a difference: “It doesn’t matter what you look like, where you’re from, what your background is, what your education is, you can run for office, you can make a difference in your community, you can give voice to issues you care about, you can make a difference.”

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