November 8, 2017 at 12:55 am EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Northam, Herring and Fairfax win in Va.

Ralph Northam, gay news, Washington Blade

Virginia Lieutenant Gov. Ralph Northam will succeed Gov. Terry McAuliffe. (Photo courtesy of Ralph Northam for Governor of Virginia)

Lieutenant Gov. Ralph Northam, Attorney General Mark Herring and Justin Fairfax won their respective races in Virginia on Tuesday.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Northam beat former Republican National Committee Chair Ed Gillespie in the race to succeed Gov. Terry McAuliffe by a 54-45 percent margin.

Herring won re-election by beating Republican John Adams by a 53-47 percent margin. Fairfax will succeed Northam as lieutenant governor after he defeated state Sen. Jill Vogel (R-Fauquier County) by a 52-48 percent margin.

“We live in a very diverse society,” Northam told his supporters who gathered at George Mason University in Fairfax to watch the election results come in. “It is that diverse society that makes this country great, and as long as I’m governor, I will make sure we’re inclusive.”

Northam, Fairfax and Herring support LGBT rights.

Adams throughout the campaign repeatedly attacked Herring over his decision not to defend Virginia’s constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Fairfax sought to label Vogel as an extremist, even though she publicly backs nuptials for gays and lesbians and has voted for measures in the General Assembly that sought to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Tonight the people of Virginia led the way and turned out to support candidates who represent the very best of who we are,” said Democratic Party of Virginia Chair Susan Swecker in a statement. “It is here in Virginia that we sent a powerful message to the nation that bigotry, racism and lies will never defeat love, fairness and truth.”

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, which backed all three candidates, said Virginia voters “have resoundingly rejected Donald Trump’s and Mike Pence’s politics of hate and fear.”

“HRC was proud to endorse these pro-equality candidates who are committed to moving Virginia forward as a welcoming and inclusive place. We congratulate Northam, Fairfax and Herring on their important victories and look forward to working closely with them to advance LGBTQ equality in the commonwealth.”

Northam, Fairfax and Herring won on the same night that Danica Roem defeated state Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William County) in the 13th House District.

Roem, who is a former journalist, will become the first openly transgender person to be seated in a state legislature when she is sworn in. Dawn Adams on Tuesday became the first out lesbian woman elected to the General Assembly when she narrowly defeated state Del. Manoli Loupassi (R-Richmond) in the 68th House District.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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