Democrat Becca Balint is the winner of Vermont’s at-large Congressional District race, NBC News projected. She is the first woman and the first LGBTQ person elected to Congress from the state.
With 72% of precincts reporting Tuesday night, Balint had 61.5%, while her Republican opponent, Liam Madden, had 28.8%.
On Tuesday evening, Balint thanked her supporters in an Instagram post with a caption saying: "Today, we reaffirmed that Vermont, and this nation, is still a place where anything is possible. We’re still capable of change and progress."
She added, "Tonight, after 231 years, Vermonters are sending a woman and openly gay person to Congress for the first time."
Balint's win against Madden, an Iraq War veteran, was widely expected. Vermont has not sent a Republican to Congress since it re-elected former Sen. Jim Jeffords in 2000.
Madden took to Twitter on Tuesday evening to congratulate Balint on her historic feat.
Although it was anticipated, Balint's win was long awaited for women's rights advocates around the country. Her victory ended Vermont's status as the only state never to have sent a woman to Congress.
“The future of LGBTQ equality and women’s rights were on the ballot — and Vermonters delivered tonight," Annise Parker, the president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which works to increase the number of LGBTQ elected officials across the U.S., said in a statement. "For nearly a decade, Becca led efforts to pass meaningful legislation to increase fairness and equity within Vermont. Now, she is ready to do the same in Congress."
Of the 535 current members of Congress, 147 are women and 11 are part of the LGBTQ community. All 11 LGBTQ members of Congress — two senators and nine representatives — are Democrats.
Balint, a former middle school teacher, is no stranger to political firsts in her state. In 2020, she became the first woman and the first openly LGBTQ person to be president of the Vermont Senate.
But even as a political leader, Balint, who is a lesbian, has faced pushback for her sexuality. In a campaign video, Balint said that when she and her now-wife first moved into their house in Brattleboro, their neighbor had an anti-gay sign.
“I get out of the car, and I’m pregnant, and at that moment I felt like, ‘How are we going to make this work?’” she said. “From a wave to a conversation to a borrowed lawn mower, things changed and the sign came down, and we felt the relief that comes when we stop turning away from each other and start meeting each other face to face.”
Balint, 54, won her Democratic primary against Lt. Gov. Molly Gray with the backing of progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Vermont icons Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, the co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
On Tuesday evening, Balint shared on Instagram that in Congress, she will fight for universal health care, "livable wages," reproductive rights, racial equity, "common-sense gun laws" and the safety of LGBTQ people.