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Transgender Virginia candidate makes history and other races to watch

November 08, 2017 - 3:20 am

(NEW YORK ) -- Democrat Danica Roem beat Republican incumbent Bob Marshall, in Tuesday's election in the northern Virginia district.

Roem is the first openly transgender person elected and seated in a state legislature.

Marshall has served in the House since 1992 and has been a lightning rod for controversy. He has often drawn the ire of even his own party.

Roem's gender identity wasn't a key part of her campaign.

Instead, she focused on jobs, schools and northern Virginia's traffic congestion.

Here are a few other races to keep an eye on:

Virginia House of Delegates

All 100 seats in the House of Delegates are up for election. Republicans hold 66 out of 100 seats in the chamber and Democrats are not expected to be able to take back the legislature, but there are a number of higher-profile races that garnered national attention. The exact number of seats that Democrats are able to pick up could be a good indicator of the strength of the party's brand in different parts of a swing state like Virginia. Forty-three of the 88 Democratic candidates running for the House of Delegates are women.
Virginia races of note:

13th district - Roem (D) v. Marshall (R): Roem, the state's first openly transgender elected official, defeated 13-term incumbent Bob Marshall.

12th district - Hurst (D) v. Yost (R): Chris Hurst’s life was flipped upside down after his girlfriend Allison Parker, a journalist at WDBJ, was murdered on live television in 2015 by a former co-worker. Now Hurst is running for political office and hoping to unseat Joseph Yost, who has held this district since 2011.

31st District - Guzman (D) v. Lingamfelter (R): If elected, Elizabeth Guzman would be the first Latina elected to the Virginia statehouse, and this district in suburban Prince William County outside of Washington, D.C., is another competitive race that Democrats are hoping to pull out.

Washington State Senate district 45

If Democrat Manka Dhingra is able to defeat Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund, it would give the Democrats control of the Washington State Senate, which would mean complete Democratic control of the West Coast (California, Oregon, Washington) in every state legislative body and governor’s seat.

The suburban and wealthy district east of Seattle was won handily by Hillary Clinton during the general election, and a win there has Democrats in the state eager to begin enacting an even more progressive agenda in the state, spearheaded by Gov. Jay Inslee.

Kentucky Rowan County clerk election

Kim Davis, who was sent to prison in 2015 when she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, is running for re-election for the first time since she was jailed.

Utah's 3rd congressional district

The race for Utah’s 3rd congressional district is not expected to be competitive with the Republican nominee, Provo Mayor John Curtis, primed to take over the seat after Jason Chaffetz resigned from Congress back in May. The district is reliably red, and even with some pushback in the state, President Donald Trump won it in 2016 by 18 points. Chaffetz cruised to re-election by almost 50 points in 2016.

Curtis is taking on Democrat and physician Kathie Allen, who has not attracted much support from national Democrats, as well as Jim Bennett, a third-party candidate and son of former U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett, and grandson of former U.S. Sen. Wallace Bennett.

New York City mayoral election

Incumbent Democrat Bill de Blasio is poised to sail toward re-election as the mayor of New York City, despite the fact that his approval ratings dipped to as low as 50 percent in a July 2017 poll from Quinnipiac.

De Blasio did not face any major resistance in the Democratic primary over the summer, and none of his challengers in the general election appear to have made much headway. The Republican candidate is state assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis.

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