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Virginia voters made history in multiple ways on Tuesday night, just one of which was the election of Danica Roem as the state’s first trans senator.
Roem, who made history in 2017 as the first trans person elected to the state house, prevailed in a competitive and critical race. The 30th district senate seat was key to helping Democrats maintain control of the state’s upper chamber.
Roem bested her Republican opponent, who had the backing of the state’s GOP governor, by roughly 2,000 votes. Information from the Virginia Elections Database shows that Roem even carried multiple precincts won by former President Trump in 2020.
With her victory, Roem also becomes the second openly trans person in the country to win a state senate seat. The first, Sarah McBride of Delaware, is running to be the first openly trans representative in the US Congress.
Roem’s victory helps advance key priorities and block anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in Virginia
Roem’s win also comes as LGBTQ+ rights across the country are increasingly under attack from some GOP politicians.
In 2023 alone, 49 states have introduced nearly 600 bills targeting the trans community. Virginia Republicans introduced 11 bills targeting trans youth in education, sports and healthcare. The Democrat-controlled state senate blocked all 11 bills from advancing.
Now, after significant wins Tuesday, Democrats have maintained control of the senate and regained control of the house. While it appears unlikely the state will pass sweeping progressive legislation under Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin, it is now all but impossible for anti-trans bills to pass either chamber.
On election night, Roem’s opponent tweeted a heartfelt message to the new senator-elect.
“I want to offer a sincere congratulations to Senator-Elect [Danica Roem]!” Bill Woolfe wrote.
“If I can ever be of service, I would be happy to work alongside you. I wish you all the best. Congratulations!”
Throughout the campaign, Roem focused on elevating issues that affect the lives of Virginians every day. Her campaign slogan simply reads: Fixing roads. Feeding kids.
After securing victory on election night, Roem tweeted that she’s ready to get to work on those exact priorities.
“If the Governor wants to work with our Democratic majorities to fix roads and feed kids for the next two years, my line’s open,” Roem wrote.
“The choice is his because we’ll be sending those bills to his desk.”