On the same day it announced its endorsement of Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam for governor, Equality Virginia Advocates announced it is backing Danica Roem for the Democratic nomination to take on longtime LGBTQ foe Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas).
“Not only is Danica the first openly transgender candidate to run in Virginia, but she also represents a viable option for HD-13 with a vision that is not only inclusive of LGBT individuals but all the district’s diverse residents,” Equality Virginia Advocates said in a statement. “We believe electing this impressive candidate to the House of Delegates will offer a stark contrast to the divisive nature of Del. Marshall’s time in office.”
“I’m honored to be endorsed by EV PAC, an organization that has led the way for protecting and promoting the civil rights of LGBTQ Virginians by helping elect pro-equality candidates,” Roem said in a statement. “I know that if I win this race, we can replace the most anti-LGBTQ legislator in the South with someone who would be the only out transgender state legislator in the country.”
Roem made headlines when she became the first openly transgender candidate to run for office in Virginia, establishing herself as a viable candidate and gaining the attention of the Victory Fund, which gave her one of its “spotlight” endorsements. She also obtained an endorsement from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
The political action committee’s endorsement of Roem marks its second endorsement of the 2017 election season, as well as the second time it has intervened on behalf of a candidate in a competitive party primary. Roem, a former journalist for the Gainesville Times and Prince William Times, faces lawyer Steve Jansen, trucking business owner Mansimran Kahlon — a well-known figure within the Prince William County Democratic party — and Army veteran Andrew Adams in her primary.
Roem still faces an uphill battle on the money front, however. Jansen — who has been endorsed by Del. Paul Krizek (D-Mount Vernon), the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, an LGBTQ political action committee that advocates for gun reform measures — has raised $73,000 in the first quarter of the year. Kahlon raised $78,000, while Roem raised just over $26,000 during that same period and spent $11,000, leaving her with just under $15,000 on hand.
Roem says she has raised an additional $28,000 since April 1. By comparison, Marshall raised $47,000 during the first three months of the year, and had more than $75,000 on hand as of March 31.
The Democratic candidates for the seat will face off in a debate on Friday, June 2, at the Bull Run Swim and Racquet Club Conference Center in Manassas.