Democratic challenger to Marshall would be Va.’s first openly transgender lawmaker
By Fenit Nirappil

Democratic primary candidate Danica Roem makes her pitch to voters at the Bull Run Swim & Raquet Club while debating three fellow Democrats vying to
unseat Republican state Del. Robert G. Marshall in Manassas. (J. Lawler Duggan/For The Washington Post)

A Democrat who would be Virginia’s first openly transgender lawmaker won the primary contest to challenge Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-
Prince William), a social conservative who proposed a “bathroom bill” and authored the state’s constitutional amendment banning same-
sex marriage.

Danica Roem, a former Gainesville and Prince William Times reporter, beat three rivals Tuesday to join the largest slate of Democratic
House candidates in recent memory, joining the launch of a general election campaign in which the party hopes to retake control of a
legislative chamber that has a staggering Republican majority.

The Democrats — many of whom say they were inspired to run after the election of President Trump — will compete in 87 of the state’s
100 House districts in November, making for the largest number of contested races in at least 20 years.

Democrats had 19 competitive nomination contests, eight of them in districts that presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won last fall. In
addition, nine Democrats were uncontested in their primary bids to challenge Republican incumbents in districts where Clinton

All four Democratic incumbents who faced challenges Tuesday, including House Minority Leader David Toscano (D-Charlottesville),
appeared to have coasted to victory.


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