Virginia state Sen.-elect Danica Roem (D-Manassas) on Nov. 7, 2023. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)
MANASSAS, Va. | Virginia state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) on Nov. 7 won her race the state Senate.
The Manassas Democrat defeated Republican Bill Woolf by a 51.5-48.2 margin.
“I’m grateful the people of Virginia’s 30th Senate District elected me to continue representing my lifelong home of western Prince William County and greater Manassas,” said Roem in a statement after she declared victory. “The voters have shown they want a leader who will prioritize fixing roads, feeding kids and protecting our land instead of stigmatizing trans kids or taking away your civil rights.”
Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson is among those who canvassed with Roem and other Democratic candidates on Nov. 6 in Manassas.
HRC in a tweet noted Roem will be the second transgender person elected to a state senate in the U.S. (Roem in 2018 became the first trans person seated in a state legislature in the country. Delaware state Sen. Sarah McBride took office in 2021.)
“Congrats to pro-equality and HRC-endorsed Senator-elect Danica Roem,” said HRC. “Senator-elect Roem is only the second openly transgender person elected to a state senate in the country. This is an historic step toward building power for the transgender community and LGBTQ+ folks everywhere.”
The LGBTQ+ Victory Fund and Equality Virginia’s PAC also congratulated Roem.
“Danica faced an unprecedented deluge of anti-trans hate on the campaign trail, but she was not fazed nor distracted,” said Victory Fund President Annise Parker in a statement. “She made LGBTQ+ history tonight because she put constituents first, speaking to the real issues that impact children and their families in Virginia, from fixing roads to ensuring kids and families have food on the table.”
Roem spoke to supporters at the Virginia Portuguese Community Center in Manassas after she declared victory.
Democrats regain full control of General Assembly
Democrats on Nov. 7 regained control of the Virginia House of Delegates, which they lost in 2021 when Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin won the governorship. Democrats maintained control of the state Senate.
Abortion and trans rights — including new guidelines for trans and nonbinary students — are among the issues that loomed over the election.
“Today, Virginians made their voices heard at the polls and sent a clear message to Gov. Glenn Youngkin and MAGA Republicans that we will not follow other Southern states who turned back the clock on progress,” said former House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn in a statement. “Virginians have voted to reject extreme abortion bans and have once again chosen a vision of a Virginia that is more open, welcoming, and prosperous.”
Robinson also highlighted these issues when she spoke with the Washington Blade on Monday.
“We’ve seen more bills attacking trans youth in the state of Virginia than at any other point in the commonwealth’s history,” she said. “People are clear about what’s at stake right now and really wanting to get politicians in office who are going to put the state back on track.”
Other LGBTQ incumbents, candidates win races
Roem is among the many LGBTQ candidates who won their respective races on Nov. 7.
State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) defeated Republican Sophia Moshasha in Senate District 39 by a 78.1-21.6 percent margin. State Del. Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax County) won re-election in House District 17.
Ebbin and Sickles are both gay.
“Virginians don’t want the government banning books, and interfering with their personal freedoms — whether it’s their reproductive rights, the right to breathe clean air, the safety of our communities from gun violence or the sanctity of our democracy,” said Ebbin in a statement.
“Despite breaking spending records, Gov. Youngkin was just served the biggest political rejection by voters of any Virginia governor in over three decades,” he further stressed. “Virginians sent Youngkin a message loud and clear tonight. In spite of his unprecedented campaign spending — and attempts to deny the right to vote to thousands in the run up to this election — his campaign to divide Virginia failed.”
State Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler (D-Virginia Beach), who is bisexual, defeated Republican Mike Karslake in House District 96 by a 54.9-41.5 percent margin. Pansexual state Del. Marcia “Cia” Price (D-Newport News) won re-election in House District 85.
Former state Del. Joshua Cole, who is bisexual, defeated Republican Lee Peters in House District 65 by a 52.6-47.1 percent margin.
Democrat Rozia Henson won in House District 19. Democratic Fairfax County School Board member Laura Jane Cohen defeated Republican Marcus Evans in House District 15 by a 61.2-38.6 percent margin, while Democrat Adele McClure won in House District 2.
Henson, Cohen and McClure are gay, bisexual and queer respectively.
State Del. Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach) defeated Zach Coltrain, a gay Gen Zer, in House District 98.
Frisch re-elected to Fairfax County School Board
Fairfax County School Board Vice Chair Karl Frisch won re-election. Robyn Lady, who is a lesbian, and Kyle McDaniel, who is a bisexual, won their respective campaigns for the school board.
“Tonight’s results show people are fed up with the political attacks targeting our world-class public schools and teachers, and putting our students in danger,” said Frisch. “Fairfax County residents have made it clear: They want safe and inclusive schools for every student, including those who identify as LGBTQ+.”
Michael Pruitt on Tuesday became the first bisexual man elected to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors. Allison Spillman, whose child is trans, won a seat on the Albemarle County School Board.
Big Stone Gap Town Councilman Tyler Hughes, who is gay, won re-election. Blacksburg Town Councilman Michael Sutphin, who is also gay, won his race.
Christopher Kane contributed to this story.
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