Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears , a former House of Delegates member and a former Marine, won 50.99% of the vote over Democrat Hala S. Ayala’s 48.9%. The last election Sears won was 20 years ago in her Hampton Roads Assembly District.
The polls in Virginia closed at 7 p.m., and Sears won the lieutenant governor’s election shortly thereafter at 8:43 p.m., according to the Decision Desk HQ website. When 95 percent of precincts were reporting, at 12:30 a.m., Sears had 51.1 percent of the vote against Ayala’s 48.9 percent.
Supporters of Sears at Governor Glenn Youngkin’s campaign election night rally in Chantilly on Tuesday, November 2, say they were just as excited for Sears as they were for the rest of the ticket.
That night, Sears told a applauding crowd, “In case you haven’t noticed, I am Black and I have been Black all my life, but that’s not what this is about. What we are going to do is we are going to now be about the business of the commonwealth. We have things to attend to, we are going to fully fund our historically Black colleges and universities. You’re going to hear from your governor-elect.”
And early Wednesday, at a victory rally following the official results that Winsome had won the state, crowds cheered “Winsome! Winsome! Winsome!” before she spoke.
Winsome Sears, a Republican, is not only the first woman and also first woman of color to be elected Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, but she is also the first woman of color to win any statewide race in the state.
In May, Sears slammed critical race theory, which became a major campaign issue in Virginia, along with other education issues.
In the wake of criticism over a Texas law that prohibits abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, Sears announced on Friday that she would also support heartbeat laws here in Virginia.
Her campaign told The Hill, “While Winsome personally supports protecting life and the most vulnerable, as a former legislator herself she also recognizes that Virginia is very different from Texas, and that legislation could never have the votes to pass the Virginia General Assembly.”
Additionally, a representative for Republican Glenn Youngkin’s campaign agreed with the Sears campaign’s assessment, adding “the Virginia legislature is very different than the Texas legislature.”
The remarks come as Virginia Democrats went on the offensive over abortion, citing a newly-passed Texas law that bans abortion from the sixth week of pregnancy onward, when many women are unsure if they are pregnant.
– John S. Paluska, CNJ Staff