Virginia voters elected the state’s first openly transgender candidate to the Virginia House of Delegates on Tuesday.
Danica Roem unseated incumbent delegate Bob Marshall, who had been elected thirteen times over 26 years, according to Marshall’s website. When Roem takes office, she will be the first openly transgender candidate to be elected and serve in a state legislative body.
As of 9:07 p.m. ET, Democratic candidate Roem had 54.59% of the votes to Marshall’s 45.36%, with 19 of 20 precincts reporting, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.
“Tonight, voters chose a smart, solutions-oriented trans leader over a divisive anti-LGBTQ demagogue – sending a powerful message to anti-trans legislators all across the nation,” said Aisha C. Moodie-Mills, president and CEO of Victory Fund – a political action committee that works to increase the number of openly LGBTQ officials at all levels of government.
Roem is the first openly transgender person elected to a state legislature in the US, according to Monica Roberts of the TransGriot blog, which covers issues in the transgender community. Althea Garrison, elected in Massachusetts, was the first openly transgender person to serve in a state legislature, but did not campaign as an openly transgender person during her race in 1992.
Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, also congratulated Roem in a tweet : “Couldn’t be more thrilled for Danica Roem. And good riddance to Bob Marshall, one of the most anti-choice, and anti-LGBTQ members of the VA House.”
Roem told Cosmopolitan in September that she views her gender identity as a strength.
“The message that I can succeed because of my gender, not despite it, because of who I am without being afraid of who I am is a human message,” Roem said in the September interview with Cosmopolitan.
Voters headed to the polls Tuesday for various races, including the Virginia and New Jersey governor races.
CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to clarify that Roem will be the first openly transgender candidate to both be elected and serve in a state legislative body.