Danica Roem, journalist-turned-Virginia-delegate candidate, has seen more success on the campaign trail after out-fundraising the incumbent delegate.

In June, Danica Roem made history when she became the first openly transgender woman to run as a major party candidate in the Virginia House of Delegates. Roem beat out three other Democratic candidates and was one of seven openly LGBTQ individuals to run in 2017 elections.

In the 13th House District, Roem won the four-way primary, leaving her to face off against Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Manassas), a notorious opponent of LGBTQ advocates and a primary sponsor of Virginia’s “bathroom bill.” In addition to running on a strong pro-LGBTQ platform, Roem also plans to tackle some more hyper-local political issues, including transportation and a campaign to Fix Route 28.

Danica Roem

Fix Route 28

After winning the primary, Roem’s campaign has continued to be successful. This week, it became apparent that Roem had out-fundraised incumbent Bob Marshall by more than $80,000. According to the campaign finance report released by the Virginia Department of Elections, between June 2 and June 30, Friends of Danica Roem raised $85,636 in contributions, with a final balance of $72,223.

Contrastingly, between June 2 and June 30, the campaign team for incumbent Bob Marshall had raised $4,585, leaving them with a final balance of $81,541.

According to the full report on June 2-30 numbers, Roem has received a number of large donations from out-of-state donors; Chris Abele, county executive of Milwaukee and chairman of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, donated a total of $35,000 to Roem’s campaign. Flippable, the New York political consulting firm that has targeted Virginia as a place to win more Democratic seats, donated $10,000.

In addition to these large donations from out-of-state sources, out of 1,028 donations, approximately 81 came from within Virginia, varying anywhere from $25 to $1,000. A glance at Marshall’s report shows that his campaign received a total of 27 donations, mostly from within and around the district that he has held since 1992. Of the 14 direct cash contributions to Marshall’s campaign, seven of the donors are retired.

Social Media as Campaign Strategy

Danica took to Twitter to celebrate the achievement, but did not hesitate to continue strategizing and pushing for more donations. But social media platforms could be much more than a place to celebrate victories for Roem’s campaign.

Roem’s fundraising success could be due, in part, to Twitter. Roem, with 3,200 followers on the platform, tweets on a daily basis; she tweets photos, videos, and thank you notes directly to her followers and supporters. Marshall, contrastingly, has only 1,742 followers, and has not updated his account since July 7.

Roem is similarly active on Facebook, with more than 5,200 likes and followers. Comparatively, Bob Marshall’s Facebook has more than 1,400 likes and followers and also has not been updated since July 7.

Perhaps through Twitter and Facebook, Roem connects to a younger and more politically active audience, whereas Marshall relies on his established, and aging, donor base.

Now that the two campaign funds are just about on-par, the race should continue to heat up. Should Roem win the election against Marshall, she will be the third transgender state legislator elected in the U.S. and one of only a few openly trans elected officials in the world.

How much do you believe social media can influence campaign fundraising? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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