Virginia Democrats were hoping it would be another candidate who became the first woman of color to win statewide office in Virginia history. But on Nov. 10, the chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee nonetheless congratulated Republican Winsome Sears for her history-making effort.
“We can all take pride in that milestone,” Arlington Democratic chair Jill Caiazzo said during a Nov. 10 election post-mortem sponsored by the Arlington Committee of 100.
Sears defeated Democrat Hala Ayala and in January will be sworn in as Virginia’s 42nd lieutenant governor since the post was established as an elected position in 1852. (In pre-Revolutionary times, the lieutenant governor was appointed from London to look after the colony, making it an office actually considerably older than that of Virginia governor.)
Sears served a brief stint in the House of Delegates nearly two decades ago, made several subsequent but unsuccessful bids for office, then won the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor during balloting held this spring. She was part of a ticket that included Glenn Youngkin for governor and Jason Miyares for attorney general that swept all three statewide seats in voting on Nov. 2.
Sears is a native of Jamaica who immigrated to the U.S. with her family at age 6. She served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and currently lives in Winchester.
As lieutenant governor, Sears’ main responsibility will be presiding over and casting tie-breaking votes in the state Senate, which currently has a 21-19 Democratic majority.