NORFOLK, Va. - Del. Hala Ayala is projected to win Virginia's Democratic lieutenant governor primary.
She is vying to fill the seat currently occupied by incumbent Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.
Ayala, Mark Levine, Sean Perryman, Sam Rasoul, Xavier Warren and Andria McClellan faced off in the June 8 primary.
Ayala is a lifelong Virginia resident and the daughter of a Salvadorian and North African immigrant father and an Irish and Lebanese mother, meaning she could be the first woman and first woman of color to serve as lieutenant governor in Virginia's 400-year history.
She released the following statement Tuesday night:
“Thank you to the voters who believed in our vision and voted to make history tonight. I am also grateful to my family, including my children, Chedrick and Amber, our volunteers, supporters, interns, and staff, and all of the elected officials and grassroots activists who supported our campaign and worked so hard to help share our vision for a stronger future. And I’d like to thank the constituents of the 51st District for giving me the opportunity to serve you. It was the honor of a lifetime. Finally, I’d like to thank all of the candidates who ran for Lieutenant Governor in this primary. I am so honored to have run with so many people who I respect. Every candidate in this field believes in a better future for Virginians, and I look forward to working with you to continue the good work we’ve all fought for.
“When you live a life of struggle — losing a father to gun violence, surviving childbirth thanks only to Medicaid, and almost losing my son — it puts things in perspective. I understand the struggles so many Virginia families face because I’ve lived them, and that experience is why I worked with my colleagues to expand Medicaid for over 500,000 Virginians, fight for gun violence prevention, raise teacher pay, and ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. And while we have made tremendous progress, there is still so much work left to do.
“We need to rebuild our local economy stronger than before, create jobs, and support our small businesses and workers. We need to expand access to health care and lower prescription drug costs. We need to invest in our infrastructure, like broadband, and bridge the digital divide facing our rural communities. We need to support and improve our school systems from Pre-K to post-secondary and give our students and teachers the tools they need to succeed. And we need to continue reforming our criminal justice system for a more equitable Commonwealth so that every Virginian can feel safe in their community.
“We must protect the progress we have made from extremists like Winsome Sears. Sears and her extreme far-right running mates have repeatedly advocated for stripping Virginians of their voting rights, defunding our public school system, and gutting affordable healthcare for more than half-million Virginians. Virginia families simply cannot afford to have an anti-progress, pro-Trump Lieutenant Governor.
“I’m ready to hit the ground running and get to work alongside Terry McAuliffe, Mark Herring and all of our Democratic candidates. I will work everyday to make sure that YOU, Virginia families, have a seat at the table, instead of being on the menu.”
Ayala will face off against Republican lieutenant governor candidate Winsome Sears in November's election. Sears accepted the GOP nomination on May 11. Sears, who was born in Jamaica, is the first Republican to represent her majority Black legislative district since 1865. The former U.S. Marine is also the first and only Black Republican woman, the first female veteran and the first immigrant elected to the Virginia House of Delegates.