Democrats in Vermont made history on Tuesday after they elected their first transgender candidate for the state governorship.
Christine Hallquist, a former energy executive, will become America’s first transgender state governor if elected in November’s midterms.
Ms Hallquist defeated three other candidates, including a 14-year-old boy, to win the Democratic Party nomination on Tuesday.
While she made history on Tuesday, Ms Hallquist faces an uphill battle to defeat the Republican incumbent Governor Phil Scott in November’s race.
But Democrats are hoping a "blue wave" in the midterm elections will lead them to regain at least the House of Representatives, one of Congress’ two chambers.
Ms Hallquist’s nomination comes in a progressive year for US politics already marked by record numbers of lesbian, gay and transgender candidates.
There are also a record number of women running in elections for governor and for the House of Representatives this year.
In all, 43 transgender candidates have run for political office at all levels this year, but Ms Hallquist is the first transgender person to win a major party nomination for a governorship.
"I think Vermont is a beacon of hope for the rest of the country," Ms Hallquist said after her victory in Tuesday night’s primary.
"This is what I call expanding our moral compass and that is what I think it represents."
Ms Hallquist has stressed she represents policies that stretch far wider than just diversity issues. "I love Vermont because we look beyond these surface issues," she said, "I just happen to be a leader who is transgender. Vermonters know that."
Also in Vermont, Bernie Sanders, who has not ruled out a second run for the presidency in 2020, easily won the state’s Democratic Senate primary, paving the way for him to serve a third term.
But the 76-year-old is expected to turn it down and run as an independent with the party’s backing, as he has done previously.
In a night of firsts, Democrats in Minnesota picked a Somali refugee as their candidate while Connecticut Democrats nominated a candidate who could become the first black woman from the state to serve in Congress.
Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American who came to the US as a teenager, won the Democratic primary in Minnesota’s fifth district.
The 36-year-old is in a strong position to become one of the first female Muslim members of Congress.
"Tonight, we are celebrating because we engaged and empowered our community and we won," she said.
Jahana Hayes, a former teacher of the year, became the Democratic nominee in a western district of Connecticut.
Ms Hayes could become the first black woman from the state to serve in Congress.
Republicans in Minnesota, a key battleground state, rejected Tim Pawlenty, a familiar face of the party’s old guard, in favour of rising newcomer Jeff Johnson, who is aligned with President Donald Trump, as their gubernatorial candidate.
Democrats in the state also backed Congressman Keith Ellison, a candidate who is facing accusations of domestic violence. He has denied the allegations, yet they threaten to undercut enthusiasm in his state and beyond.
In Kansas a Trump-backed candidate, Kris Kobach, was narrowly declared the winner of a Republican primary for the governorship, a week after counting began. He defeated Jeff Colyer, the incumbent governor, by just 345 votes.
Mr Trump fired off a celebratory tweet on Wednesday, hailing "Great Republican election results" and adding "Red Wave!"
He also endorsed a series of candidates in Wisconsin, including Bryan Steil who won the GOP primary for the House seat held by Speaker Paul Ryan and Leah Vukmir, who will face Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin in November.