The first transgender person to run for the Virginia House of Delegates found an unlikely silver lining in President Trump's decision to ban transgender people from serving in the military.
Danica Roem received more than $52,000 in donations Wednesday, the day that Trump announced his decision on Twitter.
"We attribute that to people wanting to make a statement, that they are opposed to what the president announced yesterday regarding transgender discrimination," said Roem, who is a Democrat.
It was the biggest single day of fund-raising since her campaign began, Roem said.
The 86 donations came from all over the country and from the 13th District, where Roem is running against Republican incumbent Bob Marshall. Marshall is a strong supporter of Trump's decision to exclude transgender people from military service.
"Needing operations, taking 10 years of chemical treatment to allegedly change from one sex to the other, being out of commission for 9 months if you have to get an operation to satisfy your desires," Marshall said, "it is not comparable with the fighting function of the United States military."
Marshall has been in office for 26 years in the district that includes parts of Prince William County. He was the sponsor of a so-called "bathroom bill" that would have restricted the bathrooms that transgender people can use, and authored a now-void constitutional amendment that defined marriage as between one man and one woman.
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A political action committee that supports LGBTQ candidates has called Marshall the "the most anti-LGBTQ member of the Virginia state legislature."
Marshall has also pushed for more transparent Virginia government and authored bills to streamline the paperwork required of Virginia businesses.
Roem, a former journalist and Manassas native, has said Marshall spends too much time on social policy and that she wants to focus on local issues, particularly easing congestion in fast-growing Prince William County.
"I want to build up our infrastructure, not tear down each other," Roem says on her website.