Virginia’s LGBT community will face strong opposition over the next four years in the wake of yesterday’s Republican sweep of the top three State offices as well as the House of Delegates.
Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin, Lt. Governor-elect Winsome Sears, and Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares, all of whom oppose LGBTQ equality in various forms scored close victories due in part to President Joe Biden’s dismal approval ratings, the inability of Democrats in Washington to pass an infrastructure bill or any economic plan, a slump in Black voter turnout, and Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe’s uninspired campaign largely focused on linking his opponents and other Republicans to former President Donald Trump.
In addition to the top offices, Republicans also won control of the Virginia House of Delegates. Democrats had held a 55-45 majority heading into the election Tuesday. By mid-morning, however, seven blue seats had flipped to red.
Republicans waged an aggressive campaign to flip up to 13 seats held by Democrats whom they considered vulnerable. The GOP needed to flip at least six seats to seize the majority. The new balance of power in the House puts Republicans in control with 52 seats to Democrats’ 48.
This makes it highly likely that anti-LGBTQ Del. Todd Gilbert (R-Woodstock), who has become the darling of the Republican Party due to his rabid anti-equality measures, will serve as Speaker of the House.
The number of out LGBTQ delegates in the House shrank to three. Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria) was defeated in the Democratic primary. Joshua Cole (D-Stafford), who came out as LGBTQ after his election in 2019, lost to his Republican challenger. Delegates Dawn Adams (D-Richmond) and Danica Roem (D-Manassas) won hotly contested races while Delegate Mark Sickles (D-Franconia) won re-election easily. Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), the fourth LGBTQ member of the General Assembly, is currently the Senate’s only LGBTQ legislator and was not up for re-election this year.