SALT LAKE CITY -- Misty Snow is claiming victory in Utah's Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, making her the first transgender congressional candidate in U.S. history.
With unofficial election results from 29 counties in, Snow defeated opponent Jonathan Swinton by a nearly 60 to 40 percent margin to secure the Democratic nomination. She will face incumbent Republican Sen. Mike Lee in November.
In an interview with FOX 13 on Wednesday, Snow said the history-making nature of her victory hadn't quite sunk in.
"You know, I didn't think about it too much," she chuckled. "I didn't think I'd be the first person to do something like that. I just wanted to run because I wanted to give voice to issues I care about."
Snow said her experiences as a trans woman have given her empathy to people who struggle. She said she will campaign on "working class issues." Snow works as a grocery store clerk.
"I feel like congress doesn't care about the poor, doesn't care about working class, doesn't care about the middle class," she said. "I think the way to fix that is to get more people with that kind of background in congress who know what it's like to be poor, who knows what it's like to scrape by paycheck to paycheck."
Snow rode a wave of progressive support for Bernie Sanders at the Utah Democratic Party convention, forcing a primary election with Swinton, who was a more conservative brand of Democrat. In a statement, Swinton said he was disappointed with the results but congratulated Snow on her victory.
"I hope that Ms. Snow and Mr. Lee will focus more on reaching common ground than on extreme ideology so we can represent Utahns better moving forward and restore productivity to the United States Senate," he wrote.
In the 12 hours after she declared victory, Snow's campaign said it has received more donations than it had in the previous two weeks. The campaign expected to hear from national Democratic groups and LGBT political advocacy groups to help fund her race against Lee.
On Wednesday, she was sitting down for back-to-back interviews. Her win has made national headlines. Snow said she had been contacted by other transgender people who said her campaign has inspired them to run for office.
"I didn't think it would be me that would do something like this, but if I can inspire other people to run or other people to feel you can follow your dreams in the LGBT community, then it's a good thing," she said.
Snow is now preparing to campaign against Lee. The two will have at least one TV debate in October. In a statement to FOX 13, Lee congratulated Snow on her historic win, but predicted a victory for himself in November.