Ahmad Zahra is not here to make history.
But he — a gay Muslim immigrant film producer from Syria — knows what his election to the Fullerton City Council means.
"It's a pleasant surprise," he said. "We're maturing as a county."
Election results still need to be finalized and certified, but if Zahra, 50, holds on to his substantial lead, it is believed he will be the country's first ever openly LGBTQ Muslim city councilman, according to the political action committee LGBTQ Victory Fund. The group, which seeks to elect more LGBTQ public officials, endorsed Zahra's campaign.
Zahra said he wants to use his experiences getting to this moment – struggles and all – to govern with optimism.