Virginia set to elect first female lt. governor after Ayala wins Democratic nod

Virginia set to elect first female lt. governor after Ayala wins Democratic nod
© Facebook: Hala Ayala

Virginia voters will decide between a pair of path-breakers when they elect a new lieutenant governor in November after both Democrats and Republicans nominated candidates who would be the first woman to hold the state’s No. 2 job.

Prince William County Del. Hala Ayala (D) won the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor on Tuesday, beating out a field of five other Democratic contenders, including two fellow delegates and a Norfolk city councilwoman to claim the nomination.

With 95 percent of precincts reporting, Ayala led with 38 percent of the vote. Del. Sam Rasoul (D), of Roanoke, was claiming 26 percent of the vote. Norfolk councilwoman Andria McClellan (D) and Del. Mark Levine (D), of Alexandria, were vying for third place.

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Ayala ran with the backing of both Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who remains popular among Democratic primary voters, and state Assembly Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D). She also took a $100,000 contribution from Dominion Energy, the state’s largest utility and one of its most prominent political players.

Ayala, 47, would be the first person of Latino descent to hold statewide office if she wins in November.

But before she wins that title, she will face former state Del. Winsome Sears (R), who won the Republican nomination at the state party convention last month. 

Sears, 57, served a dozen years in the General Assembly representing parts of Norfolk and Virginia Beach. She would be the first Black woman to hold statewide office in Virginia if she wins.