Tuesday night was a historic night for Virginians, and not only because a political newcomer defeated a seasoned, big business-backed Clintonite Democrat.
Arguably, the more historic event was the race for lieutenant governor, which was won by a Republican named Winsome Sears. Sears is a black immigrant from Jamaica and a former US Marine who was elected Lt. governor in the "purple" state despite being outspent 2:1. She will soon become the first black woman to serve as Lt. Gov in Va.; more importantly, she will also be the first black woman elected to statewide office in Va.
Sears defeated Democratic challenger Hala Ayala (whose father was an immigrant from El Salvador with roots in North Africa), winning more than 51.2% of the vote to Ayala’s 48.8%.
Speaking Tuesday night, Sears opened by saying "I am at a loss for words for the first time in my life" before shouting out the Marine Corps. and thanking voters "I'm only here because you put your trust in me."
She spoke with her husband and two daughters by her side.
"I'm telling you, what you're looking at is the American dream," before launching into a story about her father's journey to the US from Jamaica. "When I joined the Marine Corps...I was still a Jamaican."
This is so refreshing and uplifting.— Gaston Mooney (@gastonmooney) November 3, 2021
After serving in the Marine Corps., Sears ran a Salvation Army homeless shelter. She later entered politics, defeating Democrat Billy Robinson for the 90th District seat in Va.'s House of Delegates in 2001.
But her road to her current post wasn't always easy. She lost a race for a seat in Congress in 2004 and another for the Senate in 2018. Sears campaigned on a number of issues popular with Republicans, proposing "tax holidays" and cuts to regulations while loudly and openly backing the Second Amendment. She once even posted photos of herself firing off a rifle at the shooting range.
In a tweet, she said she would never support a "red flag" law.
Beautiful day ☀️ = Range day!— Winsome Sears (@WinsomeSears) April 15, 2021
Marines know how to use guns and I won’t ever support a red flag law! The 2nd Amendment says “shall not be infringed!” #SemperFi
Always good to see my friends at Clark Brothers Guns. pic.twitter.com/nNXq4SjazT
Sears' win was only one in a series of wins by GOP candidates that reflected a growing discontent with the Democrats' leftward shift.