The crowd of Ruben Gallego supporters gathered at Club Downtown is jazzed after Gallego's wife, Phoenix Councilwoman Kate Gallego, announced that Mary Rose Wilcox "graciously" phoned her husband and conceded the seat for Arizona's 7th Congressional District.
When Gallego came on stage, his supporters chanted his name. And during his victory speech, his voice cracked when he talked about using his office to give young people the same opportunities he's had. He grew up in stark poverty but made it to and through Harvard University.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton was one of the speakers at Gallego's celebration.
"This campaign has blown me away," Stanton says. "Ruben Gallego is going to have some big shoes to fill. And he's going to fill them well. He's going to be an awesome congressman for everyone in Phoenix."
Gallego presumably will replace longtime Congressman Ed Pastor, who announced earlier this year that he would not seek reelection to the post he held for nearly a quarter-century.
Based on early results as of 9 p.m., with about half of the district's precincts reporting, Gallego has 10,721 votes while his opponent, Wilcox, has 8,137.
Other candidates in the race for the 7th Congressional District, the Reverend Jarrett Maupin and Randy Camacho, received about 1,600 and 1,700 votes, respectively.
Richard Andrade, a candidate in Arizona Legislative District 29, says he expects Gallego will be the congressman who will fight for the working class.
"It's been an inspiration to know him," says Andrade, who's leading in his race.
He is at 29 percent of the votes, and Martha Garcia is at 23 percent.
"Ruben has brought new life to this congressional district," says Luis Schmidt, president of AFSCME Local 2384, which represents blue-collar workers at the City of Phoenix. "He's really awakened voters who've been sleeping."
Gallego enjoyed hefty support from Arizona unions during this election cycle.
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