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Sears Becomes Virginia’s 1st Female Lieutenant Governor

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Lt. Gov. Gov.-elect Winsome Sears arrives to speak before Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin at an election night party in Chantilly, Va., early Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, after he defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(AP) — Republican Winsome Sears will become the first female lieutenant governor and the first woman of color to hold statewide office in Virginia.

Sears defeated Democrat Hala Ayala in Tuesday’s election. Sears rocketed out of political obscurity to win the GOP nomination on the strength of a campaign photo in which she posed holding a military rifle.

A former Marine, she also highlighted her background as a Jamaican immigrant, campaigning against illegal immigration.

Sears had a brief stint in electoral politics nearly 20 years ago as a one-term delegate in the General Assembly, representing parts of Hampton Roads. Ayala also would have become the first female lieutenant governor and woman of color to hold statewide office if she had won.

 

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