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RESULTS: Hala Ayala and Winsome Sears face off in race to be Virginia’s lieutenant governor

Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty; Cliff Owen/AP; Shayanne Gal/Insider Democrat Hala Ayala and Republican Winsome Sears are facing off in Virginia’s lieutenant governor race.

Ayala is a state lawmaker in the House of Delegates and Sears is a former legislator.

Polls in Virginia close at 7 pm ET. Follow along for live results.

Hala Ayala, a Democratic member of the Virginia House of Delegates, and former Republican Del. Winsome Sears are competing to get elected as Virginia’s lieutenant governor .

Polls close in Virginia at 7 p.m. ET. The candidates:

Ayala is running to address access to affordable healthcare, to help workers and small businesses in their COVID-19 economic recovery, and to strengthen Virginia’s education system.

A native Virginian, Ayala identifies as Afro-Latina, with roots in North Africa, El Salvador, Lebanon, and Ireland. She’s been involved in politics through various stints: as a volunteer for then-President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, an organizer of the first Women’s March in Washington, DC, and an appointee on former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Council of Women. Before entering politics, she was a longtime cybersecurity specialist at the Department of Homeland Security.

Ayala ran for Virginia’s 51st House District in Prince William County in 2017 and defeated Rich Anderson, a four-term incumbent Republican. She became one of the first two Hispanic women elected to the House. In December 2020, she launched her bid for lieutenant governor, announcing that she would not seek reelection for her House seat.

Her opponent, Sears, made history as the first Black Republican woman elected to the House in 2002 after she ousted the 20-year Democratic incumbent of Virginia’s 90th District, William Robinson. A Jamaican immigrant, she also became the first naturalized US citizen to serve in the House.

In 2004, Sears unsuccessfully challenged longtime Democratic Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District. She took another run at federal office in 2018 as a write-in alternative to Republican senatorial candidate Corey Stewart, but lost that race.

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