US: Democrat Roem flexes spending power with new TV ad in heated Virginia race

Virginia Democrat Danica Roem launched a TV ad campaign Thursday that’s meant to overwhelm longtime Republican incumbent Del. Robert G. Marshall with media exposure not normally seen in a local state election. 

In the ad, which is airing on CNN and a few other cable channels with audiences in the 13th District, Roem stakes a claim in a fight against plans by Dominion Energy to run power lines through the Haymarket area — a battle that Marshall has helped lead.

“When Dominion wouldn’t tell us who owned the Haymarket data center, I didn’t stop until the truth came out,” Roem says in the ad, which points viewers to a 2014 article Roem wrote for the Gainesville Times, where she worked as a reporter. That story first revealed that the power line project is linked to a computer data center owned by a subsidiary of Amazon.

The ad is the first of several planned by Roem’s campaign to air on TV through the November election, revealing the spending power she has accrued in her bid to become the first openly transgender person to win elected office in Virginia. Roem’s campaign said the total cost of the first ad buy was not finalized, but the candidate said more than $100,000 worth of air time had been reserved.

Roem’s candidacy has drawn national attention — and donors — because she has a chance to make Virginia electoral history.

Another ad, which has been posted on YouTube but has not yet aired on television, highlights Roem’s transgender status, in what she said was meant as a positive message for transgender teens. It was was produced in reaction to Marshall’s insistence on referring to her as a male.

So far, Roem has been able to control a large part of the narrative in her race with Marshall by outraising the 13-term incumbent 5 to 1, pulling in nearly $374,000.

Marshall, who has refused to debate Roem, has nonetheless balked at her message, calling the Democrat disingenuous and pointing out that most of Roem’s money has come from outside Virginia, mainly from LGBT groups.

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