Ritchie Torres clinched an election win in New York’s 15th Congressional District and made history as the first openly gay Afro-Latino man elected to Congress.
“I take pride in becoming the first openly LGBTQ elected official from New York City,” Torres said in a press conference Tuesday night. “I often tell people, who would’ve thought the first openly LGBTQ elected official would come not from Chelsea or Hell’s Kitchen but from the South Bronx.”
Torres spoke to the PIX11 Morning News about his historic win, calling it a “passing of the torch” following Congressman Jose Serrano’s retirement.
Torres, who’s been a member of the New York City Council since 2014, beat Republican Patrick Delice. He’ll replace Rep. Jose Serrano, a 16-term Democrat who retired because of a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.
“When Jose Serrano entered Congress in 1990, I was only two years old,” Torres said. “Tonight’s election in 2020 represents a passing of the torch.”
The district, which covers part of the Bronx, is a Democratic stronghold. Serrano isn’t the only one in New York’s congressional delegation retiring. Congresswoman Nita Lowey, who’s represented a nearby district for decades, also announced her retirement.
Democrat Mondaire Jones, Republican Maureen McArdle Schulman and Conservative Party candidate Yehudis Gottesfeld ran to replace Lowey. If Jones wins, he’ll join Torres in making history as one of the first openly gay Black members of Congress.