A transgender woman unseated one of Virginia's longest serving and most socially conservative lawmakers Tuesday and is set to make history as the first openly transgender person elected and seated in a state legislature. Democrat Danica Roem, an experienced newspaper reporter, beat Republican Del. Bob Marshall in Tuesday's election. The race was one of the year's most high profile, drawing national and international attention and big money to the northern Virginia House of Delegates district outside the nation's capital, the AP reports. Earlier this year, Marshall, who has served in the House since 1992, sponsored a measure that would have restricted the bathrooms transgender people can use.
Marshall, 73, is also the author of a now-void constitutional amendment that defined marriage as between one man and one woman. He refused to debate Roem and used male pronouns to describe her, the Washington Post reports. "Discrimination is a disqualifier," Roem said Tuesday night. "This is about the people of the 13th District disregarding fear tactics, disregarding phobias." Roem, 33, openly discussed her gender identity during her campaign, but it was far from her focus. Instead, she focused on jobs, schools and, with particular fervor, northern Virginia's traffic congestion. (Democrats also won governor seats in Virginia and New Jersey.)