Transgender Virginia candidate makes history; how other races to watch turned out

ABC looks at how a few key races turned out around the country.

ByABC News
November 8, 2017, 6:40 AM

— -- The first openly transgender person elected and seated in a state legislature defeated her conservative Republican opponent in a closely watched Virginia election.

In a historic bid, Democrat Danica Roem beat Republican incumbent Bob Marshall, one of Virginia's most socially conservative lawmakers, in Tuesday's election in the northern Virginia district, according to The Associated Press.

Marshall has served in the House since 1992 and has been a lightning rod for controversy. He has often drawn the ire of even his own party.

Roem's gender identity wasn't a key part of her campaign.

Instead, she focused on jobs, schools and northern Virginia's traffic congestion.

Here are a few other races to keep an eye on:

Virginia House of Delegates

All 100 seats in the House of Delegates are up for election. Republicans hold 66 out of 100 seats in the chamber and Democrats are not expected to be able to take back the legislature, but there are a number of higher-profile races that garnered national attention. The exact number of seats that Democrats are able to pick up could be a good indicator of the strength of the party's brand in different parts of a swing state like Virginia. Forty-three of the 88 Democratic candidates running for the House of Delegates are women.

Virginia races of note:

13th district - Roem (D) v. Marshall (R): Roem, the state's first openly transgender elected official, defeated 13-term incumbent Bob Marshall.

12th district - Hurst (D) v. Yost (R): Chris Hurst’s life was flipped upside down after his girlfriend Allison Parker, a journalist at WDBJ, was murdered on live television in 2015 by a former co-worker. Now Hurst has won political office, unseating Joseph Yost, who held the district since 2011.

PHOTO: Chris Hurst greets Gov. Terry McAuliffe, during a rally on the East Front lawn of the Capitol to demand that Congress take action on gun control legislation, Sept. 10, 2015. Hurst is currently a Democratic candidate for the VA House of Delegates.
Chris Hurst, whose girlfriend Alison Parker, a reporter for WDBJ-TV, was killed on air last month, greets Gov. Terry McAuliffe, during a rally on the East Front lawn of the Capitol to demand that Congress take action on gun control legislation, Sept. 10, 2015. Hurst is currently a Democratic candidate for the VA House of Delegates.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images, FILE

31st District - Guzman (D) v. Lingamfelter (R): Elizabeth Guzman was elected as the first Latina in the Virginia statehouse, according to radio station WTOP, representing this district in suburban Prince William County outside of Washington, D.C.

Washington State Senate district 45

If Democrat Manka Dhingra is able to defeat Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund, it would give the Democrats control of the Washington State Senate, which would mean complete Democratic control of the West Coast (California, Oregon, Washington) in every state legislative body and governor’s seat.

Early returns showed Dhingra leading, 55.4 percent to 44.5 percent, according to The News Tribune, but Englund had yet to concede the race as votes continue to be tallied.

The suburban and wealthy district east of Seattle was won handily by Hillary Clinton during the general election, and a win there has Democrats in the state eager to begin enacting an even more progressive agenda in the state, spearheaded by Gov. Jay Inslee.

Utah's 3rd congressional district

The race for Utah’s 3rd congressional district was not expected to be competitive and Republican nominee, Provo Mayor John Curtis, had no problem cruising to a win in replacing Jason Chaffetz, who resigned from Congress back in May.

The district is reliably red, and even with some pushback in the state, President Donald Trump won it in 2016 by 18 points. Chaffetz cruised to re-election by almost 50 points in 2016.

Curtis took on Democrat and physician Kathie Allen, who did not attract much support from national Democrats, as well as Jim Bennett, a third-party candidate and son of former U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett, and grandson of former U.S. Sen. Wallace Bennett.

New York City mayoral election

Incumbent Democrat Bill de Blasio sailed to re-election as the mayor of New York City, despite the fact that his approval ratings dipped to as low as 50 percent in a July 2017 poll from Quinnipiac.

De Blasio did not face any major resistance in the Democratic primary over the summer, and none of his challengers in the general election appear to have made much headway. The Republican candidate is state assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis.

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