Spotlight on Virginia Lt. Governor Race: Hala Ayala faces off against Winsome Sears

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 3:30 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 14, 2021 at 4:31 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - On the ballot for Virginia’s next Lieutenant Governor are two women of color. Republican Winsome Sears is facing off against Democrat Hala Ayala.

No matter who is elected, they will make history being the first woman to serve in the role.

“When the pandemic hit, I felt an even bigger calling to service,” Hala Ayala, (D) Candidate for Lt. Governor, said. Ayala represents Prince William County in the Virginia House of Delegates.

During her interview outside Virginia Union University, Ayala touted Medicaid expansion as a promise kept, and said her focus is on health care.

“I felt a higher calling to just continue that line of service. I want to be the last woman in the room with the governor to talk about these very issues,” Ayala said.

Her competitor, Winsome Sears, has not answered repeated requests for an interview with NBC12. But we do know she served a stint in the House of Delegates from 2002 to 2004. The election was an upset at the time.

Born in Jamaica, Sears became the first black female Republican, first female veteran, and the first naturalized citizen, to serve. On her website, Sears lists a variety of priorities including protecting Virginia’s Right-to-Work Law.

The state’s Lieutenant Governor is in the line of succession and would take over if the governor can’t carry on. That person is also president of the senate and is someone who could be the tie-breaking vote over controversial issues.

Democrats are in full control right now, but that’s not always the case.

“You’re also having this conversation with the governor, setting those priorities and I want to fight even harder for Virginians,” Ayala said.

Meanwhile, University of Virginia political analyst Larry Sabato says this is likely a ticket election, meaning, as goes the governor’s race, so shall the rest down-ballot including the race for lieutenant governor.

Click here to view Ayala’s campaign website.

Click here to view Sears’s campaign website.

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