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Ayala falls short in bid for history | Headlines | insidenova.com – Inside NoVA

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Updated: November 5, 2021 @ 5:41 am
Lt. Gov-elect Winsome Sears
Del. Hala Ayala of Prince William County, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, at a rally in Arlington.
Former Del. Winsome Sears, the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, makes the case for her candidacy during a Sept. 1, 2021, luncheon sponsored by Virginia FREE at the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner. (Photo by Brian Trompeter)

Lt. Gov-elect Winsome Sears
Virginians elected the first woman of color to statewide office on Tuesday.
Unfortunately for Prince William County Democratic Del. Hala Ayala, it wasn’t her.
Ayala fell short of winning the lieutenant governor race, and her running mates, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Attorney General Mark Herring, also lost to Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin and Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares, respectively. 
Del. Hala Ayala of Prince William County, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, at a rally in Arlington.
Ayala received about 1.59 million votes, losing to Lt. Gov-elect Winsome Sears by about 66,000 votes out of nearly 3.25 million cast, according to unofficial results from the Virginia Department of Elections as of Wednesday afternoon.
In addition to being the first woman of color elected statewide, Sears, who is Black, also becomes the highest-elected woman, supplanting Mary Sue Terry, who served two terms as attorney general from 1986 through 1994. 
“They would like us to believe we are back in 1963 when my father came. We can live where we want. We can eat where we want. We own the water fountains. We have had a Black president elected not once, but twice, and here I am living proof,” Sears said at Youngkin’s election night event in Chantilly. “In case you haven’t noticed, I am Black and I have been Black all my life.”
Although she wasn’t at the top of the ticket, Ayala received about 8,000 more votes than McAuliffe did. The Associated Press didn’t call the race for Sears until Wednesday afternoon. 
Republicans swept the top three races, winning their first statewide seats in 12 years.
Ayala conceded the race Wednesday afternoon. In a statement, she congratulated Sears on “making history and paving the way for future women leaders who look like us.”
“We may not be able to claim victory today, but we know that the results of this election are simply a minor setback in our larger fight for progress,” Ayala wrote on Twitter. “Regardless of the role that I hold today, tomorrow or 10 years from now, you can count on me to put you first, because Virginia is my family.”
Ayala, who represented the Lake Ridge-based 51st District in the House of Delegates for the past two terms, easily won the vote in her home county, as did McAuliffe and Miyares.  But their vote totals and margins of victory were less than those of President Joe Biden in 2020, when he won the state by 10 percentage points.  
Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chair Ann Wheeler, a Democrat, said the county “remains an example of governing and electoral success for Democrats.”
She noted that all eight House of Delegates seats that represent at least portions of the county remained in Democratic hands. 
“Together, we returned every single one of our Democratic delegate seats to Richmond and delivered a 20-point mandate for the Democratic ticket,” she said. “In Prince William County, we know our diversity is our strength. As the 10th most diverse county in the nation we are emblematic of the future, and our governing success in Prince William County is a road map.”
Ayala would have been the first person from Prince William elected to statewide office since William Grayson. Grayson, who was born in what is now the Woodbridge area, was elected as one of Virginia’s first two U.S. senators in 1789, according to the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association of the Union. 
Sears’ victory was an outlier for Republicans in the lieutenant governor position. She will be only the eighth Republican to hold the position since it was established in 1851. The lieutenant governor is second in line of succession to the governor and serves as president of the state Senate. 
Former Del. Winsome Sears, the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, makes the case for her candidacy during a Sept. 1, 2021, luncheon sponsored by Virginia FREE at the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner. (Photo by Brian Trompeter)
Although Democrats held on to Prince William’s seats in the House of Delegates, Republicans regained a majority in the chamber. Democrats still hold a two-vote majority in the Senate, but Sears will hold the tie-breaking vote starting in January.
The results of the gubernatorial election course corrected state politics to a pattern prevalent over the past 40 years. Only once since 1981 has the victorious candidate for governor come from the same party that won the White House in the previous year – McAuliffe in 2013, following President Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012.
McAuliffe narrowly beat Republican Ken Cuccinelli by about 63,000 votes in 2013. On Tuesday, he lost by about 78,000.
Conceding to Youngkin in a news release Wednesday morning, McAuliffe urged leaders to continue investment in public schools, raise the minimum wage and expand paid family leave. 
“While there will be setbacks along the way, I am confident that the long term path of Virginia is toward inclusion, openness and tolerance for all,” he said. “And I’ll continue to be a part of that fight with you.”
In a Wednesday news release, Gov. Ralph Northam echoed many of McAuliffe’s points and signaled the beginning of a transition to Youngkin’s administration.
“This election brought record voter turnout for a non-presidential election, because Virginians are engaged and involved in our government and democracy,” he said. “That’s something we can all be proud of.”
Clean Virginia, a progressive nonprofit supporting candidates focused on clean energy, urged Republicans to take a strong stance against Dominion Energy. The organization spent more than $3 million in campaign contributions in the election.
“Now it’s time for Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin to make good on campaign promises and hold Dominion Energy accountable,” executive director Brennan Gilmore said in a press release. 
Speaking to supporters at the Westfield Marriott in Chantilly after he was declared the winner early Wednesday morning, Youngkin pledged to get to work right away. 
“There is no time to waste,” he said. “We work in real people time, not government time. So on day one we’re going to work. We’re going to restore excellence in our schools. We will invest the largest education budget in the history of the commonwealth. We’re going to invest in teachers, new facilities, special education; we’re going to introduce choice within our public school system.”
Youngkin also pledged to work to eliminate the sales tax on groceries, suspend a recent increase in the gasoline tax and reduce taxes on the retirement income of veterans.
“For everyone that calls Virginia home,” he added, “together we will change the trajectory of this commonwealth.”
InsideNoVa reporter James Jarvis contributed to this article.
Nolan Stout covers Prince William County. Reach him at [email protected] or @TheNolanStout on Facebook and Twitter.
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Nolan Stout covers Prince William County. Reach him at [email protected] or @TheNolanStout on Facebook and Twitter.
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Question for the liberals here. Now that we have what appears to be a great incoming Lt. Governor of color for Virginia….eventually there is bound to be a white female Lt. Governor. Will you be making headlines saying first woman of no color or first white woman to become Lt. Governor? Ayala still can obtain the Afro-Latin title I think I read here in another article. I really think normie Democrats are waking up to the ridiculousness that is the party of Joe Biden’s staffers.

Ah, shouldn’t the title read,”Sears Makes History?” I guess whomever wrote this believes that because she is Black and not a Democrat, she does not matter. This mindset does not appeal to independent voters, nor does Ayala’s “women who look like us” comment. Sorry. I thought we were voting on issues and merit, not skin color nor ethnicity.

Come on InsideNova! The Headline should be about the Wonderful Victory for the First Female African-American Lt. Governor of Virginia! Not the L O S E R. You media people ARE biased and pathetic. Are you done crying yet?
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