January 22, 2014 | by Michael K. Lavers
Democrats poised to retake Va. Senate
Jennifer Wexton, Mark Herring, Virginia, gay news, Washington Blade

Jennifer Wexton and Attorney General Mark Herring appear at a campaign event in Sterling, Va., on Jan. 4. (Photo courtesy of Catherine Read)

A former Loudoun County prosecutor will succeed Attorney General Mark Herring in the Virginia Senate after she won a special election that will likely allow Democrats to regain control of the chamber.

Jennifer Wexton defeated Republican John Whitbeck by a 53-38 percent margin. Former state Del. Joe T. May, who ran as an independent, came in third with slightly less than 10 percent of the vote.

“It feels terrific,” Wexton told the Loudoun Times-Mirror after she defeated Whitbeck and May.

Herring in a statement congratulated Wexton on her “hard-fought and well-earned victory.”

“I could not be more proud to know that the citizens of Virginia’s 33rd Senate District will continue to be represented by someone who will always put problem solving over partisan politics and who will work tirelessly to strengthen our economy, improve our transportation system and who will support our public schools,” he said.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Lieutenant Gov. Ralph Northam, the Human Rights Campaign and EMILY’s List are among those who also endorsed Wexton.

“I look forward to working with her and the entire General Assembly to find common ground on issues that will grow Virginia’s economy and create more opportunities for all Virginians,” said McAuliffe.

State Del. Lynwood Lewis (D-Accomack County) defeated Norfolk businessman Wayne Coleman by nine votes in a Jan. 7 special election to fill the Senate seat that Northam vacated.

Coleman last week requested a recount.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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