November 08, 2017


On Tuesday night in Virginia, former journalist Danica Roem, a Democrat, knocked off 13-term Republican state Del. Bob Marshall. Roem's win quickly became a huge national news story as she became the first openly transgender person elected and seated to a state legislature in the US. What's more, her victory came against Marshall, who has called himself the state's 'chief homophobe.' For more on Roem and the race she ran, I reached out to Fenit Nirappil, who covered the race for The Washington Post. Our conversation, conducted via email and lightly edited for flow, is below.
Cillizza: Most people outside of northern Virginia (and even lots of people in NoVa) had never heard of Danica Roem before last night. So, tell us about her.
Nirappil
: Danica has a joke on the campaign trail where she says "I'm Danica Roem, or as the Washington Post web editors like to call me, the transgender candidate."
But beyond the historic nature of her candidacy that drew her national attention, she also has the kind of local ties that candidate recruiters look for. Roem was raised in Prince William County, where the district is located, and came back home after college to work as a local newspaper reporter for nine years covering development, roads and other bread-and-butter issues.
One local Republican lawmaker told me she was the toughest interviewer he ever faced because of her grasp on policy issues. Outside of work, Roem plays in a melodic death metal band and had some off-color music videos that Republicans tried to say made her out of touch with the district's suburban sensibilities.
Cillizza: How contentious was the race between Roem and Bob Marshall? And how much -- if any -- did it center on Roem's transgender status?
Nirappil
: This was one of the most contentious races of the year.
Marshall adamantly opposes LGBT rights and doesn't recognize the legitimacy of transgender people. He only used male pronouns to describe Roem, and launched a video ad and mailer attacking her gender identity. He also refused to debate her in person, accusing the Democratic side of playing nasty because Roem's allies called him "Bigot Bob." Among other things, he sponsored a "bathroom bill" and the amendment to Virginia's constitution banning same sex marriage.
Cillizza: What did Roem run on issue-wise? How front and center -- or not -- was the history-making aspect of her being the first transgender person elected to office in Virginia?
Nirappil
: Roem mostly wanted to focus on traffic, especially on the local Route 28 that is the bane of local commuters' existence. But she didn't totally downplay her gender identity: She released a video about her transition in response to Marshall misgendering her.
Roem's message was two-fold: Marshall is so focused on social issues that he neglects local issues affecting constituents such as congestion and jobs and he has become such a gadfly that he lacks clout to bring home bacon for the district.
Cillizza: What does Roem's win say about the state of politics in northern Virginia? It seems like a huge departure from the two-plus decades of Marshall's time in the seat.
Nirappil
: Although Marshall had won 13 terms, Roem's victory isn't entirely surprising. This is a diverse exurban district where the electorate looks very different in presidential, gubernatorial and off-year races. Roem benefited from a surge of minority, young and casual Democratic voters that carried the party's gubernatorial nominee Ralph Northam to a decisive victory. Another Democrat came close to unseating Marshall in 2013 — Atif Qarni, who some said didn't stand a chance as a Muslim candidate. But a variety of diverse Democrats won in northern Virginia on Tuesday, apparently putting to bed the notion that white male Democrats are the safe option.
Cillizza: Finish this sentence: "Danica Roem will be in the ___________ in 10 years time." Now, explain.
Nirappil
: "still in the General Assembly, if not living off of proceeds from the memoir she planned to write."
She has said she has no interest in higher office, and is genuinely passionate about the wonky business that local delegates deal with.
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Netflix Shares Skyrocket Following Blowout Q4 Results
January 19, 2021
plCb9L5qQeQ
How The Bee Gees Brothers Found Success As Songwriters
January 19, 2021
MpWcrHh7-_E
'Silence of the Lambs' Reunion! Anthony Hopkins & Jodie Foster Talk Dr. Lecter | Actors and Actors
January 19, 2021
u2QjdRaLfa8
Al Roker gets COVID-19 vaccine on the ‘Today’ show | Page Six Celebrity News
January 19, 2021
YWK9m-xC-TA
Tommy Hilfiger dumps $45 million Greenwich mansion for sunny Florida | Page Six Celebrity News
January 19, 2021
7cOiYIxtVLo
Inside Chris Evans’ abandoned $3.5 million mansion | Page Six Celebrity News
January 19, 2021
xLrSqGRx9D0
Alice Marie Johnson Says Helping Others Get Pardons Better Than Her Release | TMZ
January 20, 2021
U52X1wmSAZc
Joe Biden Can Unite Country Right Away Says Historian Dr. Allan Lichtman | TMZ
January 19, 2021
BN-nsfNuxC8
Sen. Lindsey Graham Chooses Inauguration Over Trump Farewell, Heavy Security at Airport | TMZ
January 19, 2021
J4ufQ8v-quk
Clare & Dale Split, Michael & Lori Vacay and Cardi vs. Hamburger
January 20, 2021
NdUGK2e0onA
"Celebrating America" Inauguration Special Best Moments
January 20, 2021
1RNXWWWLY9o
5 Things to Know About Inauguration Poet Amanda Gorman | E! News
January 20, 2021
JvUXTQL1-0w
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
20
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Aston Villa
20
Jan
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Augsburg - Bayern Munich
20
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Fulham - Manchester United
20
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Birmingham - Preston NE
20
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Norwich City - Bristol City
20
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Cardiff City - QPR
20
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Huddersfield - Millwall
20
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Nottingham Forest - Middlesbrough
20
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Brentford - Luton
20
Jan
GERMANY: Bundesliga
SC Freiburg - Eintracht Frankfurt
20
Jan
GERMANY: Bundesliga
RB Leipzig - Union Berlin
20
Jan
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Arminia Bielefeld - Stuttgart
20
Jan
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Schalke - Koln
20
Jan
SPAIN: La Liga
Villarreal - Granada CF
20
Jan
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Betis - Celta Vigo
20
Jan
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Huesca
20
Jan
ITALY: Serie A
Udinese - Atalanta
19
Jan
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Borussia Dortmund
19
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leicester City - Chelsea
18
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Newcastle United
18
Jan
ITALY: Serie A
Cagliari - AC Milan
17
Jan
ITALY: Serie A
Inter Milan - Juventus
17
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Manchester United
17
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Sheffield United - Tottenham Hotspur
17
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Crystal Palace
17
Jan
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayern Munich - SC Freiburg
17
Jan
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Fiorentina
16
Jan
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Mainz
16
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Fulham - Chelsea
15
Jan
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - Roma
14
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Crystal Palace
13
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Brighton
13
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Fulham
13
Jan
GERMANY: National cup
Holstein Kiel - Bayern Munich
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.