The Democratic candidate hopes to unseat notorious anti-LGBTQ crusader Bob Marshall.
Marilyn Drew Necci | October 18, 2017
Danica Roem picked up a high-profile supporter yesterday. Former Vice President Joe Biden officially endorsed five different Democratic candidates currently competing for seats in Virginia’s House Of Delegates. Among them was Danica Roem, who — need we remind you — is attempting to win the 13th District seat long held by the LGBTQ community’s biggest enemy in the General Assembly, Bob Marshall.
Roem’s received the lion’s share of her campaign publicity due to the fact that she’s the first openly transgender candidate for statewide office. However, anyone who has actually heard Roem speak or read interviews with her knows that her top reason for running against Marshall is to fix the inefficient infrastructure in her district. Specifically, she focuses on improving traffic flow on Rt. 28, the main road through her home city of Manassas and an important artery for commuters entering and leaving Washington DC.
This infrastructure focus spoke to Biden, who is known for commuting by train from his home state of Delaware to DC for Congressional sessions during his years as a US Senator. “As someone who spent decades riding the train to work, I’m proud today to endorse Danica Roem’s historic candidacy because I know her emphasis on improving transportation infrastructure is critical to improving the quality of life for thousands of Virginians,” Biden said in his endorsement. “I know she’d make people of her lifelong home of Prince William County proud by working to improve their commutes and strengthen the middle class while serving them with compassion in Richmond and Manassas.”
Roem referred to herself as “humbled” in a statement released in response to Biden’s endorsement. “I have made transportation policy my top priority,” she said. “This helps us entirely.”
Biden didn’t make direct mention of Roem’s gender identity in his statement, but his willingness to support an openly transgender candidate isn’t a surprise in light of Biden’s previous support for the trans community. In a 2012 public appearance, while speaking to the mother of a trans woman, he referred to trans rights as the “civil rights issue of our time.”
Meanwhile, Roem’s opponent, the notorious Bob Marshall, continues to engage in the sort of ad hominem politics that have marked his contributions to this race since it began. In correspondence with the Washington Blade, he responded to the news of Biden’s endorsement by referring to “out of state leftist organizations” funding Roem’s campaign and referring to her “radical agenda.”
Meanwhile, in 2017′s General Assembly session alone, Marshall submitted several bills aimed at undercutting and eliminating LGBTQ rights, including one aimed at immediately overturning Governor McAuliffe’s 2017 executive order forbidding businesses that contract with the state to fire workers due to their sexual orientation. Who’s the radical now?
Earlier this month, news broke that a 501(c)(3) think tank called the American Principles Project was funding an anti-trans robocall going out to 13th District voters. The robocall asked questions relating to transgender bathroom use that used anti-trans language. Roem elaborated on the language in a statement to the Washington Blade, saying it accused her of “support[ing] boys using the girls bathroom, locker room,” and calling it “the typical transphobic crap we have to deal with.”
Marshall and his supporters are ramping up the hate for understandable reasons. The Biden endorsement is just the latest sign of support received by Roem over the course of this campaign. She’s raised $500,000 this year according to the Washington Post, who track Marshall’s take from donations as just under $135,000 over the same time frame. She’s paid for two TV ads within the past month as well, including one directly addressing her transgender status.
There isn’t really any data out there about who may or may not be leading in this race, although Democratic sources have told GayRVA they project Roem as “likely to win.” University of Mary Washington political science professor Stephen Farnsworth recently told the Washington Post that “the most appealing argument that one can make to swing voters is a very local, policy-driven argument. Transportation in Northern Virginia, the quality of schools. These are the sorts of issues that are going to persuade voters who haven’t reflexively made up their mind to vote for the Republican or the Democrat.”
So it seems the fact that Roem is focusing on precisely those issues in her campaign may not only appeal to the former Vice President. However, make no mistake, this endorsement from Biden is, in his own memorable words, “a big fucking deal.”
Photo by David Lienemann, from wikipedia