Transgender Virginia candidate wins historic election against opponent who refused to debate her and referred to her with male pronouns

    Danica Roem beat the Republican incumbent Del. Robert Marshall in the race for the Virginia House of Delegates and is set to become the first openly transgender state legislator in the US. Marshall, Virginia’s self-described “chief homophobe,” refused to debate Roem and referred to her with male pronouns.

Danica Roem was elected as the first openly transgender state legislator in the US – and Virginia’s first transgender elected official – on Tuesday as she beat the 13-term Republican incumbent Del. Robert Marshall on Tuesday.

The contest between Roem, a 33-year-old former newspaper reporter, and Marshall, a 73-year-old social conservative, exposed a stark cultural divide within the state. The Prince William County legislator refused to debate Roem and released campaign ads that referred to her with male pronouns.

Marshall, Virginia’s self-described “chief homophobe,” introduced a bill that would have required Virginians to use public restrooms that correspond with their sex at birth.

Roem gathered support from LGBT groups and other progressive advocates across the country, outraising Marshall 3-to-1 and focusing her campaign on traffic issues.

Roem’s win is one of dozens across in the state on Tuesday in which Democrats upset Republican incumbents. As of 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Democrats were on track to flip the Virginia House of Delegates.