It’s official! Ritchie Torres has won!
Late last night, July 4, Torres shared with his fans, voters, and followers that he had won the Democratic primary to New York’s 15 congressional district seat. The seat originally belonged to longtime congressman Jose Serrano, but Serrano announced that he is stepping down because he has Parkinson’s disease. Now after this victory, Ritchie Torres is expected to win November’s general election. That will make Torres the first openly gay Black man in Congress. That is, of course, if fellow New Yorker Mondaire Jones from the 17th district doesn’t join him.
But that’s not the only reason we’re celebrating. In this victory, Torres also defeated ten competitors for the position. This includes City Councilmember Ruben Diaz, Sr. who is a notorious homophobe and transphobe. In 2019, Diaz was even publicly condemned by his own son, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., after Diaz, Sr. made anti-gay comments about NYC City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
This victory, however, didn’t come without its trials. In fact, it took six weeks of counting to confirm Torres’ win. According to Bloomberg, several challenges connected to mail-in voting led to the six-week results delay. The focus on mail-in ballots, due to the coronavirus pandemic, led to an intense atmosphere and several snags in the process. Despite that, Torres’ win was eventually confirmed.
It’s official. We won! It is the honor of a lifetime to be able to serve our community in Washington DC. The counting took longer than expected, but today the @BOENYC certified our victory & I want to say thank you.. pic.twitter.com/j2ygMbQXSA
— Ritchie Torres (@RitchieTorres) August 4, 2020
“We won!” a Torres exclaimed on Twitter. “It is the honor of a lifetime to be able to serve our community in Washington DC.”
“To all the Bronx Democrats who put their trust in me and to all the residents, activists, advocates & union members all across the city who helped along the way,” he shared further. “We still have the general election to win in November, but I’m ready to get to work. It’s governing that matters. I will fight day and night for the essential workers of the Bronx.”
“Black LGBTQ people – like all LGBTQ people – are severely underrepresented at every level of government, but this gives hope that we are moving toward building a U.S. Congress that is more representative of the people it serves,” Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, said in a statement in June about Torres’ run. Torres is joined by Mondaire Jones as the two are set to make history as Black gay congressmen if elected in November. Both are expected to win.”
Despite the expectation that he’ll win, Ritchie Torres’ victory is not guaranteed. He will now face three opponents in the November general election. This includes Republican candidate Orlando Molina, Conservative Party candidate Patrick Delices, and Working Families Party candidate Kenneth Schaeffer.