In results that are making waves throughout the entire US political scene, Democrats have overthrown the Republican majority in the Virginia state House of Delegates, shifting the balance of power for the first time since 2000.
In Virginia, the same state rocked by the horrific events of Charlottesville last August, Republicans have controlled the chamber since the Clinton administration and went into the Tuesday election holding 66 of the 100 seats available.
In a surprising result, Democrats managed to unseat at least a dozen Republicans and flipped three additional GOP seats of incumbents who did not stand for re-election.
Analysts say these results are the most dramatic shift in control of the legislature since the Reconstruction Era.
At the time of writing, Democrats still need to win one more seat to ensure a 50-50 split, or two more to gain full control of the chamber.
Of the 15 seats Democrats managed to flip, 11 were won by women. Most surprisingly, one of them became the state’s first openly transgender person to win elected office, and the second in the whole country since Republican Althea Garrison was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1992.
What makes 33-year-old Danica Roem’s victory all the sweeter is that she unseated the vocal anti-LGBT, ultra-conservative Bob Marshall, who had been elected 13 times over 26 years.
Want to hear something even more amazing? Roem is the lead vocalist of a Virginia thrash metal band called “Cab Ride Home”.
Yep. A white old man who has labelled himself in the past as Virginia’s “chief homophobe” was defeated by a Trans Metalhead. Now if that doesn’t scream “sell-movie-rights-now” I don’t know what does.
Aside from her presence in the local heavy metal scene for more than a decade, Roem is an award-winning journalist who has earned accolades from the Virginia Press Association seven times.
She told Vice in an interview last June, “Just because I sing in a heavy metal band while spinning my head in circles and getting paid to do it, why can’t I run for government? Why would I have to change who I am in order to run for government? I’ve already had to go through transformative change,”
During the campaign, Marshall straight up refused to debate Roem and attacked her with a mix of religious-backed transphobia, even going as far as insinuating she was a “bathroom predator”.
Ms Roem told a crowd of ecstatic supporters after securing the seat, “To every person who’s ever been singled out, who’s ever been stigmatised, who’s ever been the misfit, who’s ever been the kid in the corner, who’s ever needed someone to stand up for them when they didn’t have a voice of their own … this one’s for you.”
When asked what she thought about her opponent, she simply answered:
When asked about Bob Marshall, Danica Roem said “I don't attack my constituents. Bob is my constituent now.”
— Nicholas Trevino (@BlyTarbell) November 8, 2017
A tip of the hat to you, Ms Roem. Well played, well played.