A transgender candidate defeated an incumbent Virginia lawmaker who sponsored a bill that would have restricted which bathrooms she could use.
Democrat Danica Roem, a former journalist, is set to make history as the first openly transgender person elected and seated in a state legislature in the United States. She unseated Republican Del. Bob Marshall, one of the state's longest serving and most socially conservative lawmakers. The race was one of the year's most high profile, drawing international attention and big money to the northern Virginia House of Delegates district outside the nation's capital.
"It's historic. ... It sends a message to politicians everywhere that the politics of bigotry is over," Democratic House Caucus Chair Charniele Herring said.
Roem will be the first transgender member of the House of Delegates and will become the first out transgender person to win and serve in a state legislature, according to the Victory Fund, a political action committee that works to get openly LGBTQ people elected and has supported Roem.
Roem, who couldn't immediately be reached for an interview Tuesday night, openly discussed her gender identity during her campaign, but it was far from her focus. Instead, she focused on jobs, schools and, with particular fervor, northern Virginia's traffic congestion.
Roem, who sings in a metal band in her spare time, said she learned to listen to different perspectives and digest complicated policy as a reporter for the Gainesville Times and Prince William Times, skills she would bring to bear as a delegate.