Who is Danica Roem? Virginia elects first openly transgender state legislator

Published: Thursday, November 09, 2017 @ 1:33 AM

What You Need To Know About Danica Roem

Many political contenders earned new titles as the results from Election Day rolled in Tuesday, but one Virginia politician also became a history maker as the first openly transgender woman elected and seated in a U.S. state legislature.

>> Chris Hurst, whose girlfriend was killed on live TV, wins Virginia delegate seat

Democrat Danica Roem, a wife and stepmother of one, beat out 25-year, 13-term incumbent Republican Del. Bob Marshall for the House of Delegates position. 

“Discrimination is a disqualifier,” Roem said Tuesday night as the votes were still being counted. “This is about the people of the 13th District disregarding fear tactics, disregarding phobias ... where we celebrate you because of who you are, not despite it.”

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This is Roem’s first political position. Want to learn more about her? Here are five things you should know:

Roem’s race with Marshall was contentious.

Marshall helped introduce the controversial “bathroom bill," which would restrict the bathrooms transgender individuals would use. While the legislation did not pass, Marshall continued to voice his opinions about the LGBT community. The self-proclaimed “chief homophobe” refused to debate Roem in person and referred to her using male pronouns. He also produced several ads denouncing Roem’s transgender identity. One read, “Danica Roem In His Own Words,” and another stated, “Danica Roem, born male, has made a campaign issue out of transitioning to female.”

>> On AJC.com: Spelman College to admit transgender female students

The Democrat raised more money than her Republican opponent.

The Virginia native raised $500,000, according to The Washington Post. Many of the donations came from LGBT advocates and supporters. While District 13 only has 52,471 registered voters, she reportedly knocked on doors more than 75,000 times. Marshall’s campaign said staffers knocked on voters’ doors about 49,000 times. 

She began her physical transformation about four years ago.

The 33-year-old started her transgender transition in 2013. She began hormone replacement therapy and later changed her name from “Dan” to “Danica."

Roem was an award-winning newspaper reporter.

She graduated from St. Bonaventure University in New York with a degree in journalism. For nine years, she worked for the Gainesville Times and Prince William Times as a reporter and editor. During her stint as a journalist, she was awarded by the Virginia Press Association seven times. 

She plays in a metal band in her spare time. 

Roem sings in a metal band called Cab Ride Home. She’s the lead vocalist of the five-member ensemble, and they have performed more than 100 shows, including in the U.K., according to their website

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Rep. Turner: Report won’t dispute Putin sought to help Trump

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 11:23 AM

Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio
Washington Bureau
Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio(Washington Bureau)

A yet-to-be released House Republican intelligence committee report does not dispute claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin may have tried to help President Donald Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton, Rep. Mike Turner said Wednesday.

In a strongly worded letter to the Republican chairman of the intelligence committee, Turner, R-Dayton, wrote, “There is no dispute that Putin intended to harm our democracy and hurt Clinton’s campaign and expected presidency through an active measures’ campaign that included the hacking and dumping of e-mails along with the dissemination of propaganda via Russian state-run media and social media.”

FILE - In this file photo taken on Friday, July 7, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump, right, meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. The Kremlin said Trump called Putin to congratulate him on re-election, and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that Trump spoke with Putin Tuesday March 20, 2018.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Turner, a member of the intelligence committee, was reacting to claims made earlier this month by GOP committee members that the report did not accuse Putin of trying to help Trump win the election. In addition, the same Republicans said they found no evidence of collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russian officials linked to Putin.

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The committee will vote Thursday on whether both Democrats and Republicans on the panel agree with its findings. The 150-page report has not yet been released, but Democrats strongly objected to the GOP claims that Putin was not trying to help Trump.

Turner indicated that he agrees with the findings of the intelligence committee but disputes claims some lawmakers made last week that the report did not find Putin tried to help Trump.

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Representative K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, who headed up the probe, said last week “the Russians did commit active measures against our election in ’16, and we think they will do that in the future.” But Conaway said GOP members “disagree with the narrative that they were trying to help Trump.”

FILE - In this file photo taken on Friday, July 7, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump, right, meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. The Kremlin said Trump called Putin to congratulate him on re-election, and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that Trump spoke with Putin Tuesday March 20, 2018.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

In his letter, Turner said the committee report did not find any evidence of collusion between Putin and Trump campaign aides. But he also wrote the intelligence committee’s report “should not be interpreted as ending or contradicting the work of” Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

With rumors swirling that Trump may try to fire Mueller, Republicans have begun to criticize the moment. On Tuesday, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said firing Mueller would be a big mistake.

Mueller is investigating whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election and whether Trump aides colluded with Russian officials.

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NYT: Democrat Conor Lamb wins PA’s special election, beating Rick Saccone in a Trump stronghold

Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2018 @ 2:33 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 14, 2018 @ 2:33 PM

Lamb Declares Victory in Pennsylvania Special Election, Saccone Does Not Concede

Update March 14, 2018 7:35 p.m EDT: Democrat Conor Lamb has won Pennsylvania’s special election in the 18th Congressional district, beating Republican Rick Saccone in a GOP stronghold by a thin margin of just over 600 votes, according to The New York Times, which called the election late Wednesday.

Republicans have not conceded the election and are likely to demand a recount, the Times reported.

Update March 14, 2018 2:32 p.m. EDT: Sources told WPXI’s Rick Earle that the Republican party has hired an independent firm to look for voting irregularities in Tuesday’s special election.

Although unofficial results for the race put Democratic candidate Conor Lamb just a few hundred votes ahead of his Republican rival for the 18th Congressional District seat, Rick Saccone, a recount of the vote is unlikely. If the race was one that was statewide, it would trigger an autmoatic recount, as less than .5 percent separates Lamb and Saccone’s tallies. The same rules don’t apply to congressional races.

 >> On WPXI.com: Why there may not be a recount in the 18th Congressional District race

A recount can only happen if three or more voters from each precinct petition for a recount due to fraud or errors in the vote counting.

Update March 14, 2018 12:50 a.m. EDT: Democratic candidate Conor Lamb has declared victory over opponent Rick Saccone in the closely watched special election in Pennsylvania for the 18th Congressional District seat.

>> Visit WPXI.com for complete coverage of this developing story

Saccone has not conceded.

The Pennsylvania Secretary of State's election results website currently has Lamb with a 113,111-112,532 edge in votes. However, there are still an unclear number of absentee, provisional and military ballots to count.

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ORIGINAL STORY: Polls have closed in the special election for the 18th Congressional District, a race that has drawn national attention and is seen by some as a referendum on President Donald Trump.

Political newcomer Conor Lamb showed strength in fundraising and the polls for Democrats, who are seeking to control a seat that has been primarily Republican for decades. 

The GOP pinned its hopes to Rick Saccone, a four-term state representative who has tied himself very closely to Trump throughout the campaign.

The seat opened in October when longtime representative Tim Murphy resigned amid a scandal.

The district, which stretches through parts of Greene, Allegheny, Washington and Westmoreland counties, could change by May after the state Supreme Court threw out the electoral map in January, saying it was unconstitutional. 

The court issued a new map intended to take effect by the May primaries, although Republicans have challenged that map in court.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

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Trump takes last place in 'presidential greatness' survey

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 7:16 AM

President Trump And Twitter

President Donald Trump took last place in a new survey that aims to measure "presidential greatness."

>> President Donald Trump endorses Mitt Romney in Utah Senate race

According to the results posted Monday by Boise State University, 170 political scientists participated in the 2018 Presidents and Executive Politics Presidential Greatness Survey. More than 57 percent of the respondents – current and recent members of the Presidents and Executive Politics Section of the American Political Science Association – were Democrats, while 13 percent were Republicans and 27 percent were Independents. Respondents gave each president a score of 0-100 for "overall greatness," then each president's scores were averaged.

>> Read: Trump addresses nation after deadly Florida high school shooting

So who took the No. 1 spot? Abraham Lincoln led the pack with a score of 95.03, followed by George Washington, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. Those presidents' ranks remained unchanged from 2014.

Among recent presidents, Barack Obama fared the best, placing eighth with a score of 71.13. Ronald Reagan took the No. 9 spot, while Bill Clinton came in at No. 13, George H.W. Bush at No. 17, Jimmy Carter at No. 26 and George W. Bush at No. 30.

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Trump ranked No. 44 – last place – with a score of 12.34. Among Republican respondents, he fared slightly better, coming in at No. 40.

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Trump on Roy Moore's loss in Alabama Senate race: 'I was right'

Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 7:07 AM

What You Need To Know About Roy Moore

President Donald Trump took to Twitter early Wednesday to weigh in on Republican Roy Moore's stunning loss in the Alabama Senate race.

>> Who is Doug Jones, Democrat facing Roy Moore in Alabama Senate race?

>> Alabama Senate race: Doug Jones defeats Roy Moore

>> Click here or scroll down for more

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Watch the Moment When Supporters Find Out Doug Jones Wins Alabama's Special Senate Election

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