Virginia House of Delegates candidate Danica Roem (D) has defeated longtime Del. Robert Marshall (R), becoming Virginia’s first openly transgender elected official, according to The Washington Post.
Roem’s win in Virginia’s 13th District also means she is poised to become the first openly transgender person to be elected and seated in a state legislature, advocates say.
Her win comes alongside Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) victory in the governor’s race Tuesday, the first major victory for Democrats since President Trump took office earlier this year.
Roem, 33, was up over Marshall, 73, by more than 10 points with roughly 90 percent of votes counted in preliminary estimates. Hillary Clinton won the district by 14 points, 54 to 40 percent, over President Trump last year.
Before venturing into politics, Roem was a reporter for the Gainesville Times and the Prince William Times. She defeated Marshall, a social conservative who has been in office since 1992.
“Danica will bring a reporter’s eye to Richmond, and we eagerly anticipate her results-oriented approach to deliver for her constituents in the 13th,” Virginia House Democratic Caucus Leader David J. Toscano and Caucus Chairwoman Charniele Herring said in a statement.
“As a journalist, Danica Roem has covered the issues critical to Virginians and listened to a wide range of perspectives. During her campaign, Danica expanded this approach by listening to area residents’ concerns and making them integral to her own policy platform,” they added.
Marshall thanked his supporters in a statement posted to Facebook.
“For 26 years I’ve been proud to fight for you, and fight for our future. Though we all wish tonight would have turned out differently, I am deeply grateful for your support and effort over the years,” he said. “I’m committed to continue the fight for you, but in a different role going forward.”
Marshall previously authored the “Physical Privacy Act,” a bill that would require people to use the restroom that corresponded with the sex on their birth certificate.
The GOP delegate said the bill, which failed in a silent committee vote, was mainly aimed at protecting young girls from changing in locker rooms alongside men who identified as transgender.
LGBTQ advocates hailed Roem’s victory on Tuesday evening, with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) calling it “a clear warning to anti-equality lawmakers across the country.”
“HRC was proud to mobilize voters to support Danica Roem’s trailblazing candidacy, and we look forward to working with her to help continue moving equality forward in Virginia,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement.