Winsome Sears is the Republican Party of Virginia’s (RPV) nominee for lieutenant governor. With her nomination, the Republicans have their ticket: former Carlyle CEO Glenn Youngkin for governor, current Delegate Jason Miyares (R-Virginia Beach) for attorney general, and Sears, who represented Virginia Beach in the House of Delegates from 2002-2003, and then challenged U.S. Representative Bobby Scott (D-Virginia-03) in 2004.
In a Tuesday evening statement, Sears said, “This afternoon, on my drive into Richmond, I passed the First African Baptist Church—a place of worship organized by freedmen and slaves—where, in 1865, the first-ever Republican State Convention was hosted. Now, today, as the first Republican since 1865 to represent a Majority Black District, I am honored to accept the nomination to be Lieutenant Governor. I am honored and overwhelmed by your votes of confidence.”
She added, “From the time my family arrived in America from Jamaica, we have realized and appreciated the opportunity that the US provided us: however, we never could have imagined that would include the possibility of being the second-in-command in our great Commonwealth. I am ready to get to work to fulfill my promise to TAKE BACK OUR COMMONWEALTH!”
Although there were six candidates for the lieutenant governor nomination, the race came down to three current and former House of Delegates members. Sears came first with 54.39 percent of votes in the final round of counting. Tim Hugo, who represented Fairfax from 2003 to 2019, came in second with 45.61 percent in the final round. Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach), who has served as delegate since 2014 came in third. The win is a return to prominence for Sears, who was once considered a rising star.
Lance Allen came in fourth, Puneet Ahluwalia came in fifth, and Maeve Rigler came in sixth.
Sears led through all five rounds of ballot counts, winning the first round with 32.47 percent spread from northern Virginia down to Southside and out to Hampton Roads. Hugo controlled Fairfax and Prince William, while Davis controlled substantial portions of eastern Virginia and southwestern Virginia.
Ranked choice results as reported by the Virginia Public Access Project:
- Sears 32.47 percent / 4,076 weighted votes
- Hugo 22.5 percent / 2,824 weighted votes
- Davis 20.21 percent / 2,537 weighted votes
- Allen 12.26 percent / 1,539 weighted votes
- Ahluwalia 6.52 percent / 819 weighted votes
- Rigler 6.05 percent / 759 weighted votes
- Sears 34.25 percent / 4,300 weighted votes
- Hugo 23.8 percent / 2,988 weighted votes
- Davis 21.31 percent / 2,675 weighted votes
- Allen 13.55 percent / 1,701 weighted votes
- Ahluwalia 7.08 percent / 889 weighted votes
- Sears 36.85 percent / 4,626 weighted votes
- Hugo 25.38 percent / 3,186 weighted votes
- Davis 22.61 percent / 2,838 weighted votes
- Allen 15.17 percent / 1,904 weighted votes
- Sears 43.22 percent / 5,426 weighted votes
- Hugo 30.4 percent / 3,816 weighted votes
- Davis 26.38 percent / 3,312 weighted votes
- Sears 54.39 percent / 6,828 weighted votes
- Hugo 45.61 percent / 5,726 weighted votes
In rounds two through four, Sears continued to build her lead faster than her competition, consistently picking up the most redistributed votes from eliminated candidates. After Davis was eliminated, in round five, Hugo took 1,910 votes, more than Sears who took 1,402, but it wasn’t enough for Hugo to overcome Sears’ strong performance in the first four rounds.
That led Twitter commentators to wonder what might have happened if Hugo’s campaign hadn’t sent an attack mailer criticizing Davis for his record on LGBTQ issues, with a photo of Davis in a rainbow shirt.
“Imagine what this margin would have been if Tim hadn’t done the mailing calling Glenn Davis gay. He still won the Davis voters but not with the margin he needed to win. Incredible self own,” Democratic consultant Ben Tribbett tweeted.
“The Republicans nominated a black woman for statewide office. What are the Dems going to do,” former Richmond City Council candidate Tavarris Spinks tweeted.
The lieutenant governor breaks ties in the Senate, often on significant legislation, and Virginia’s current political climate makes ties more common.
Senate Republican Caucus leaders congratulated Sears in a statement: “With control of the Senate on a knife’s edge, Virginia needs a Republican presiding over the chamber. With many critical issues having been decided by the Lieutenant Governor’s tie-breaking vote over the last two years, Senate Republicans are keenly aware of how important it is to have a Republican wielding the gavel once again.”
They added, “Winsome Sears will make a great Lieutenant Governor, and we look forward to seeing her presiding at the dais come January.”
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