Danica Roem, a former journalist turned candidate for Virginia’s House of Delegates, handily won her election on Tuesday night to become the country’s first transgender state representative.
She unseats 25-year incumbent Bob Marshall, among the state’s most vocal anti-LGBTQ lawmakers. Marshall was the sponsor of Virginia’s transphobic “bathroom bill,” which sought to ban transgender residents from using public restrooms that corresponds to their gender identity.
Throughout the race, Marshall refused to refer to Roem by female pronouns and refused to debate with her.
With 95 percent of the vote in, Roem’s margin stands at 54.6 percent to 45.4 percent. She will represent Virginia’s 13th district, an area that encompasses most of Prince William County in the Washington, D.C. suburbs. That district heavily favored Hillary Clinton in 2016, but in his last election in 2015, Marshall beat Democratic candidate 56.1 percent to 43.9 percent.
Roem is part of what appears to be a wave election for Democrats in Virginia. In addition to victories in the gubernatorial, lieutenant governor and attorney general races, Democrats stand to gain as many as 14 seats in the House of Delegates.
Roem will be the first openly transgender person to serve in a statehouse, according to LGBTQ advocates. Although Stacie Laughton won a New Hampshire House race in 2012, she did not take office.
This is a breaking news story and has been updated as more information became available.