Virginia reelects all 5 of its LGBTQ officials in 'rainbow wave'

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Democrats in the state also took back the majority in both legislative chambers.

All five of Virginia's LGBTQ legislators were victorious in their reelection bids Tuesday night as Democrats regained the majority in both legislative chambers.

All of the LGBTQ legislators are Democrats.

Del. Danica Roem, Virginia's first openly transgender lawmaker, and Del. Dawn Adams faced tough challenges from Republicans seeking to unseat them.

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In the run-up to election day, Roem faced anti-trans attacks from the Republican Party in her district, questioning her status as a mother. Roem defeated her Republican opponent, Kelly McGinn, by a healthy margin of 57-43.

Adams, a health care champion, won her seat in 2017 by only 333 votes. But on Tuesday, Adams won her Richmond-area district by more than ten times that margin, defeating Republican Garrison Coward by almost 3,900 votes, or 55% to 45%.

Roem and Adams will be rejoined by Dels. Mark Levine and Mark Sickles, who both had significantly less competitive races on Tuesday night.

On the Senate side, Sen. Adam Ebbin cruised to victory after no Republicans bothered to run against him.

"While LGBTQ people remain severely underrepresented in governments throughout Virginia, victories for both Danica and Dawn make clear LGBTQ candidates can win in and keep more conservative districts," the LGBTQ Victory Fund, an organization focused on electing more LGBTQ officials, said Tuesday night.

The group added that "equality legislation would be soon to follow" the Democratic victory in the state.

With majorities in the House of Delegates and state Senate, along with a Democratic governor, Virginians can anticipate legislation specifically aimed at ensuring equality for LGBTQ residents.

In a conversation before the election, Virginia House Democrats Communications Director Kathryn Gilley said pro-LGBTQ bills blocked by Republicans in recent years would likely be a priority if Democrats took the majority. She also noted Democrats would likely take up a recommendation from the state's attorney general to add gender identity and sexual orientation to the state's hate crime law.

The victories resonated not only in Virginia, but across the country, where 80 LGBTQ candidates won elections in what the Advocate called a "rainbow wave."

"Congratulations to @PWCDanica on winning re-election!" Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, tweeted Tuesday night. "I admire your dedication to the people of your district, and am inspired by your commitment to making infrastructure a priority in Virginia."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.