Elizabeth Guzman will now become one of the first Latina women to ever serve in Virginia’s General Assembly, knocking off eight-term incumbent Del. Scott Lingamfelter, R-31st District.
Guzman, a human services staffer with the city of Alexandria, earned 53.6 percent of the vote to Lingamfelter’s 44.63 percent, with 96.15 percent of precincts reporting. Independent Nathan Larson picked up 1.75 percent.
The Republican had represented the district, which covers parts of Prince William and Fauquier counties, since he first won election in 2001.
Lingamfelter has faced a challenger in all but two of his bids for office, but he’s won with hefty margins in all but one of his races — Jeremy McPike, now a state senator, came within one percentage point of Lingamfelter in 2013, the last time the gubernatorial race was on the ballot.
Yet the district’s increasingly trended blue at the national level, and its voters chose Hillary Clinton over President Donald Trump by a 51 percent to 44 percent margin last year.
As one of 17 districts in the state to vote for Clinton with a Republican representative in Richmond, the area quickly became a top target for Democrats. Guzman squared off in a tight primary race with Sara Townsend, who previously challenged Lingamfelter in 2015,
“There you had an entrenched incumbent who voted very conservatively for many years, but Elizabeth Guzman was a newcomer with a ton of energy and charisma that really took it to him,” House Minority Leader David Toscano, D-57th District, said on a call with reporters before the election.
Guzman also proved to be a prolific fundraiser, raising just over $1.02 million over the course of the race to Lingamfelter’s roughly $662,000. That total put her at second in the entire state, narrowly trailing on Chris Hurst, the Democratic nominee in Southwestern Virginia’s 12th District.
As a candidate, she expressed support for expanding Medicaid eligibility, raising the state’s minimum wage and making larger investments in early childhood education programs.
She’s now one of three people of Hispanic descent serving in the General Assembly, and the first Democrat to represent the 31st District since it was redrawn to include Prince William in 2001.