U.S. Rep. George Holding has his first challenger for 2018: Wendy Ella May, a military veteran and transgender woman from Johnston County.
May describes herself as a “New Deal Progressive Democrat,” and she was a delegate for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at last year’s Democratic National Convention.
May said she is the first transgender candidate to run for Congress in North Carolina.
“I will work across party lines to make sure that our citizens can earn a living wage, have affordable health care and that our public schools are strong to prepare our future generations for employment,” May said.
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May said that as a disabled veteran, she’s particularly concerned about problems with federal services for veterans.
“One of the reasons I’m running is because of the way the Veterans Administration treats veterans,” she said.
May has also worked as a firefighter, minister and journalist. She’s currently president of the LGBT Democrats of Johnston County and second vice chair of the Progressive Caucus of the N.C. Democratic Party.
In the wake of House Bill 2, transgender Democrats have become a more visible presence in the party. May ran unsuccessfully for Johnston County commissioner last year, garnering about 33 percent of the vote against a Republican incumbent in the conservative county.
May isn’t the only transgender candidate running in 2018. Angela Bridgman of Wendell, who spoke out frequently against HB2, has filed paperwork for a campaign in the N.C. House district currently represented by Republican Rep. Chris Malone of Wake Forest.
Earlier this week, Holding’s 2nd District was added to a list of targets by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is recruiting candidates across the country for potential swing districts in 2018 as the party seeks to gain a majority in Congress.