Kyrsten Sinema
Rick Scuteri/AP/REX/Shutterstock
November 13, 2018 09:07 AM

Democrat Kyrsten Sinema made history on Monday when she beat Republican Martha McSally to fill Republican Jeff Flake‘s seat in the Senate.

Sinema, the first Democrat to win a Senate election in Arizona since 1976, was announced as the victor of the closely-watched race after election officials spent days tallying up the votes of people who cast their ballots early or via mail, The New York Times reported.

Her groundbreaking win makes her Arizona’s first female senator and the Senate’s first openly bisexual member, according to the Advocate. She experienced homelessness in her youth.

President Donald Trump asserted on Friday that the counting in the election was amiss. “Just out — in Arizona, SIGNATURES DON’T MATCH. Electoral corruption – Call for a new Election? We must protect our Democracy!” he wrote.

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Arizona’s Secretary of State Michele Reagan put out a statement explaining why the results were taking time.

“It comes as no surprise that the security of our elections is at the top of everybody’s mind right now,” she wrote. “Arizona has made it a top priority to make sure that our critical election infrastructure is secure from any nefarious actors. Some of these new security measures do however slow down the ballot tabulation process.”

Sinema, who previously served in the House of Representatives, spoke in a Facebook Live video on Monday.

“I am so honored that Arizonans chose our vision of a better Arizona, and now it’s time to get to work. Arizonans had a choice between two very different ways forward. One focused on fear and party politics and one focused on Arizona and the issues that matter to everyday families,” she said.

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“Arizona rejected what has become far too common in our country: name-calling, petty personal attacks and doing and saying whatever it takes just to get elected. It’s dangerous, and it lessens who we are as a country,” Sinema said. “But Arizona proved that there is a better way forward.”

She added: “We can work people who are different than us. We can be friends with people who are different than us. We can love and care about people who are different than us. We can keep people who are different than us safe.”

Sinema ended with a quote from Arizona senator John McCain, who died in August at age 81.

McSally, who was a pilot in the Air Force and has served in the House, conceded the race in a Twitter video with her dog on Monday.

“I just called Kyrsten Sinema and congratulated her on becoming Arizona’s first female senator after a hard-fought battle. I wish her all success as she represents Arizona in the Senate,” she started.

“And I also wanted to say thank you to everybody who supported me in this campaign: my staff and volunteers and everybody who voted for me,” McSally continued. “I’m so grateful for you as my wingmen and wingwomen in this journey. We sure wish it came out with a different result, but I’m so thankful for you.”

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“As I traveled around this state, I was so inspired by the many people that I met, and I am convinced Arizona is the best state in the country and our best days are still yet to come, and I’m going to continue to pray for our success,” she concluded.

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