No openly transgender person has been elected to any state’s senate, though four transgender lawmakers currently serve in lower chambers of state legislatures. Like those politicians, Ms. McBride said she had not focused on identity while campaigning. Her would-be constituents, she said, are far more concerned about her views about health care and education policy.
“My identity and the symbolic ramifications of my elections, that doesn’t come up” in conversations with voters, she said. “What comes up is that we need creative and courageous leadership that will meet this moment with meaningful action for people’s lives.”
Democrats also renominated Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, a 10-year-incumbent, for a second full term. Mr. Coons turned back a progressive challenger, Jessica Scarane, who never attracted the kind of financing or enthusiasm that propelled other liberal candidates who took on centrist Democratic incumbents this year.
Ms. Scarane had hoped to tap into the enthusiasm that launched progressive challengers to victories over veteran Democratic congressmen in Chicago, St. Louis and the Bronx. But Delaware’s 2020 Senate race never became a cause célèbre on the left.
A poll conducted last month by a confederation of progressive organizations considering investing in the race on Ms. Scarane’s behalf found Mr. Coons leading by 40 percentage points, a margin sufficient to dissuade them from spending money to help Ms. Scarane.
Mr. Coons still took the race seriously and used an enormous fund-raising advantage to blanket Delawareans with television ads, spending nearly $800,000 compared with Ms. Scarane’s $65,000. The only third-party organization to devote significant resources to the race was the American Chemistry Council, which aired more than $200,000 in ads backing Mr. Coons.
Ms. Scarane, who moved to Delaware from New York 10 years ago, did not have the profile of other left-wing upstarts who have toppled incumbent centrist Democrats. Progressive organizations had first sought to recruit a woman of color to support in the race. Kerri Evelyn Harris, a Black progressive organizer, gave Delaware’s other Democratic senator, Tom Carper, a brief scare in 2018 before Mr. Carper prevailed by nearly 30 percentage points.