As Senate and gubernatorial races dominated political headlines Tuesday night, here's a result that was easy to overlook: transgender candidate Donna Milo received 22 percent of the vote in her Republican primary for Florida's 20th congressional district.
Milo placed third in a three-way race, finishing behind winner Karen Harrington (40 percent) and runner-up Robert Lowry (38 percent). Milo received over 4,100 votes out of more than 18,400 cast.
The district, which surrounds Ft. Lauderdale, is strongly Democratic. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a deputy Democratic whip, currently represents it.
Born in Cuba by the name "Ed," Milo's family fled to Miami in 1964 and later moved to Ft. Lauderdale.
Milo mentions nothing about her former gender on the bio page of her website.
On the bio page of her website, Milo writes:
It is the firm belief in the principle honesty that allowed me to face my life's greatest challenge to be true to myself honest with my loved ones and to confront my true identity. After years of great pain and struggle, I finally came to terms with the decision to be who I am and to undergo gender re-assignment surgery.I thank God every day that my family and loved ones stand by my side, love me for who I am and support me in all of my endeavors. I also thank God daily for living in this great country of ours, where all Americans have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Interestingly enough, Milo is socially conservative. She's pro life according to her issues page, and she told blogger Mike Signorile in an interview that marriage is between "a man and a woman" and that "traditional families" should have priority over gay and lesbian couples when applying for adoption. Unsurprisingly for a Republican House candidate, Milo opposes cap-and-trade and calls for fewer government regulations on business and health care.
While 22 percent was only enough for last place, it's a decent showing for a third-place candidate, most of whom tend to receive votes in the 10 to 18 percent range.
Milo was drastically outspent by Harrington, according to the latest available financial disclosures, covering expenses through August 4, but she was able to outspend Lowry. As of those filings, Harrington had spent over $150,000, Milo had spent over $30,000, and Lowry had spent over $24,000.
A Democratic official couldn't recall any other transgender candidates running for House seats this cycle or in recent years.