Michele Rayner made Florida history on Tuesday, becoming the first Black queer woman elected to a state office.
A civil rights attorney, Rayner, 38, defeated three other candidates to win the universal Democratic primary in House District 70. The district covers southern St. Petersburg and parts of Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota Counties. No Republicans entered the race in the district so there will be no general election in November.
Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith released the following statement on Rayner’s win:
“With her victory, Michele has shattered another glass ceiling by becoming the first Black queer woman ever elected to any office in our state. Our donors rallied to support her and our volunteers sent over 100,000 messages to voters in the closing days of the campaign,” said Smith, a resident of the district.
Rayner took 30% of the vote and told the Tampa Bay Times she sees her victory as “pushing back on patriarchy.”
Rayner was endorsed by the Times, Equality Florida and LGBTQ Victory Fund. She raised close to $117,000 during the campaign.