Gay incumbent fends off transgender challenger for Montgomery Co. state senate seat

Sen. Richard Madaleno, D-Montgomery County, and challenger Dana Beyer. (AP file photos)

(WJLA/ABC News) -- An historic primary race took place in Montgomery County on Tuesday where a transgender woman and a gay man competed for a seat in the Maryland state senate.

Openly gay state Sen. Richard Madaleno successfully fended off a challenge by openly transgender candidate Dana Beyer, according to election returns early Wednesday.

Madaleno was the first gay elected official to serve in the state's senate, and Beyer - had she won - would've been Maryland's first transgender state senator.

There was no Republican running in this year's race to represent the district, so Madaleno as the winner of Tuesday's primary likely returns directly to the senate.

Beyer is the executive director of Gender Rights Maryland, a transgender advocacy group, and writes an LGBT column for the Huffington Post, while Madaleno helped spearhead legislation to expand protections for transgender citizens this year and had earned the endorsement of Equality Maryland, an LGBT advocacy group.

Carrie Evans, director of Equality Maryland, told the Baltimore Sun earlier this year that she had expected the two gay candidates to split the LGBT vote.

Beyer told ABC News today that she was the first openly trans candidate to run for senate and if she had won would've become the first openly trans legislator in history.

Still, she said, voters didn't seem to care about the sexuality or gender of the candidates.

"It's interesting. On one level it's inconsequential - the identity politics - to the voters here," Beyer said Tuesday, before the polls closed. "I'm running to bring a measure of economic justice and a voice for science, medicine, and the environment, to a senate that has no doctors. We need people in the legislature who are skilled, there's not enough professional diversity."

"But I also happen to be trans, and I can't escape that," she said. "It's historic and important but nobody here cares about it... It's a truly democratic county, and a rather liberal one."Landis did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

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