Taking place almost exactly one year after President Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton, Tuesday’s off-year elections were largely a victory for the Democratic party, especially in New Jersey, Virginia, and Charlotte, North Carolina. And though these elections are a blow to Trump, the night was about historic wins: Virginia elected Danica Roem, the state’s first openly transgender lawmaker; Vi Lyles became the first African American woman to be elected mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina; Ravinder Bhalla became the first Sikh mayor elected in New Jersey after Hoboken voters turned out for him. Three Latinas also made history on Thursday.
Both Hala Ayala and Elizabeth Guzman will be the first Latinas to serve in Virginia’s General Assembly. Ayala beat four-term incumbent Rich Anderson. Ayala, a former cybersecurity specialist with the Department of Homeland Security, led with 52.99 percent of the vote. On Twitter, she posted a statement thanking those who voted for her.
“I am so honored for the privilege to represent House District 51,” the statement reads. “I am humbled by the faith that my future constituents have placed in my candidacy and our message. I built my campaign on the promise of fair and equal representation of our community, in all of its wonderful diversity. I intend to make sure Richmond hears our local voices, especially as we fight to improve our schools, work toward long-term solutions to reduce traffic congestion and ensure affordable health care to those in need.”
As for Guzman, she successfully challenged eight-term incumbent Scott Lingamfelter, who had won decisively in the past. She earned 53.6 percent of the vote. On her website, Guzman stated that she was running to represent those whose voices weren’t heard. “I am running to be the first Hispanic woman in the Virginia Assembly, because I want to stand up for the thousands of people across my district and millions more across my state who feel like their diversity is not represented in Richmond,” the site reads.
Across the country, Cathy Murillo is set to become Santa Barbara’s first Latina mayor. “I ran a positive campaign and got a positive result,” Murillo said after walking into her election night party, according to KEYT. Murillo previously served as a Santa Barbara City Council member.