Jamaican-born Winsome Earle Sears has won her party’s nomination to run for lieutenant governor of Virginia, becoming the first black woman to become the Republican Party’s choice for the position.
Sears, 57, who migrated from Jamaica at age six and grew up in the Bronx, New York, beat out five competitors taking the nomination with 54 percent of the weighted votes at the end of the fifth ballot counting from the state GOP convention.
“From the time my family arrived in America from Jamaica, we have realized and appreciated the opportunity that the US provided us,” said an overjoyed Winsome Sears.
“However, we never could have imagined that would include the possibility of being the second-in-command of the home of the American and world’s longest-standing democracy,” Sears rejoiced in a statement following the announcement of her victory.
Winning in November would put the former marine pilot, who currently owns and operates a plumbing, electrical and appliance repair business, next to Virginia’s governor. Seven of Virginia’s last 14 governors previously served as lieutenant governor.
Virginia is currently a blue state with Democrats winning the former Republican stronghold since 2004. No Republican has won a state-wide election there since 2009. The Presidential election in November 2020 further highlighted the democratic dominance in the state. President Biden won the polls by double-digits, the first Democrat to do so since 1988.
In November, Sears — who majored in English and minored in economics at Old Dominion University, and holds a master’s from Regent University will officially be the Republican candidate in the election to the Virginia General Assembly, representing Norfolk in the House of Delegates.
The AP said Sears “is seeking an achievement that is exceedingly rare, if not unprecedented in modern Virginia politics — a return to elective office after an absence of 18 years”.