Woman who gave the finger to Trump's car wins election

LEESBURG, Va. (AP) — The woman who lost her job after displaying her middle finger at President Donald Trump's motorcade has won a seat on a county board of supervisors in Virginia.

With 99 percent of the vote reported by the Loudoun County Office of Elections Tuesday night, unofficial returns showed Democrat Juli Briskman ahead of Republican incumbent Suzanne Volpe with 52% of the vote.

Among her goals, Briskman said she would increase transparency in local government.

Briskman was on a bike ride in October 2017 and was photographed making the gesture as Trump's motorcade went by. She told her bosses what happened after the photo went viral and was asked to leave her government contracting job or face termination. She sued and won a severance claim, but her wrongful-termination lawsuit was dismissed.

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Juli Briskman, who was fired after giving US President Donald Trump's motorcade the middle finger while cycling in 2017, walks from her car while campaigning to be elected to a seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors October 17, 2019, in Sterling, Virginia. - Two years later, Briskman has jumped headfirst into politics and is running for local office. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Juli Briskman, who was fired after giving US President Donald Trump's motorcade the middle finger while cycling in 2017, leaves after speaking with a voter while campaigning to be elected to a seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors October 17, 2019, in Sterling, Virginia. - Two years later, Briskman has jumped headfirst into politics and is running for local office. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Juli Briskman, who was fired after giving US President Donald Trump's motorcade the middle finger while cycling in 2017, is running for a seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, poses October 17, 2019, in Sterling, Virginia. - Two years later, Briskman has jumped headfirst into politics and is running for local office. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Juli Briskman, who was fired after giving US President Donald Trump's motorcade the middle finger while cycling in 2017, walks to homes while campaigning to be elected to a seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors October 17, 2019, in Sterling, Virginia. - Two years later, Briskman has jumped headfirst into politics and is running for local office. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Mike Mullins, a campaign manager for Juli Briskman places a sign supporting her campaign to be elected to a seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors October 17, 2019, in Sterling, Virginia. - Two years later, Briskman has jumped headfirst into politics and is running for local office. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Campaign material for Juli Briskman, who was fired after giving US President Donald Trump's motorcade the middle finger while cycling in 2017, is seen October 17, 2019, in Sterling, Virginia. - Two years later, Briskman has jumped headfirst into politics and is running for local office. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Juli Briskman, who was fired after giving US President Donald Trump's motorcade the middle finger while cycling in 2017, greets a voter while campaigning to be elected to a seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors October 17, 2019, in Sterling, Virginia. - Two years later, Briskman has jumped headfirst into politics and is running for local office. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
STERLING, VA - JULY 17: Juli Briskman, the Democratic nominee for Supervisor of Loudoun County's Algonkian District, chats with Hari Moosani as she campaigns door-to-door in her neighborhood on Wednesday, July 17, 2019, in Sterling, VA. Briskman is the cyclist who was photographed flipping off Trump's presidential motorcade, only to be fired from her job. That got her angry, so she's running for Supervisor in her Virginia district. (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images).
STERLING, VA - JULY 17: Juli Briskman, the Democratic nominee for Supervisor of Loudoun County's Algonkian District, chats with Saira Sufi, C, daughter Leena Rasheed, 12, and son Zakaria Rasheed, 8, as Briskman campaigns door-to-door in her neighborhood on Wednesday, July 17, 2019, in Sterling, VA. Briskman is the cyclist who was photographed flipping off Trump's presidential motorcade, only to be fired from her job. That got her angry, so she's running for Supervisor in her Virginia district. (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images).
Juli Briskman (R) waits to protest as US President Donald Trump leaves the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia to return to the White House August 25, 2018. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Juli Briskman (R) carries a sign with others to protest as US President Donald Trump leaves the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia to return to the White House August 25, 2018. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
MEGYN KELLY TODAY -- Pictured: Juli Briskman and Megyn Kelly on Thursday, November 9, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)
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Meanwhile, Virginia Democrats promised swift action on a host of liberal policy proposals after taking full control of state government for the first time in more than two decades.

Democratic leaders said Virginians should expect a higher minimum wage, new gun restrictions and greater abortion rights after their party flipped control of the state House and Senate in Tuesday's election. They also promised ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, making Virginia the final state needed for possible passage of the gender equality measure.

With Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam already in office, Democrats will now have full control of the statehouse for the first time in 26 years.

"Tomorrow the work begins and the people want to see results," Sen. Dick Saslaw, poised to be the next Senate majority leader when lawmakers return to the Capitol in January, told supporters at a victory party in Richmond. "And let me tell you, for God's sake, they're going to get results."

Suburban voters turned out in big numbers

Tuesday's victory extended the Democrats' winning streak under President Trump.

Suburban voters turned out in big numbers to back Democratic candidates, continuing a trend of once GOP-friendly suburbs turning blue. This is the third election in a row in which Virginia Democrats made significant gains since President Donald Trump was elected.

The Democrats' big win was a warning sign for the president and Republicans ahead of next year's election. Higher-educated and more affluent suburban voters - particularly women - have revolted against Trump's GOP both in Virginia and nationwide. The suburbs leaned Republican in the past but have become a key battleground amid shifting demographics and Trump's turbulent presidency.

Tuesday was a rough night for many suburban Republicans in Virginia. Del. Tim Hugo lost his spot as the last Republican representing Fairfax County, northern Virginia's most populous suburban jurisdiction.

Of the four states with legislative elections this year, Virginia was the only one where control of the statehouse was up for grabs. Republicans had slim majorities in both the state House and Senate.

National groups, particularly those aligned with Democrats, pumped huge amounts of money into the contests to test-drive expensive messaging and get-out-the-vote campaigns ahead of the 2020 balloting. Gun control and clean-energy groups affiliated with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent several million dollars helping Democrats.

President Trump tried to rally Republicans via Twitter

Virginia also drew several high-profile visits from 2020 presidential hopefuls, including former Vice President Joe Biden, as well as current Vice President Mike Pence.

President Trump tried to rally Republicans via Twitter but stayed out of Virginia, a state he lost in 2016.

The only candidate Trump endorsed by name, Republican Geary Higgins, was handily defeated in a contest for a northern Virginia Senate district that was previously held by the GOP.

Gary Keener and wife Marthanne Huffines-Keener, of Glen Allen, a suburb just north of Richmond, said they voted Republican for years but have voted Democrat since the 2008 election of former President Barack Obama. They said Trump definitely had a large presence in Virginia's election.

"We didn't want to make that our only reason for coming out," Keener said. "But he's a baboon. We do some traveling, and wherever we go, we're embarrassed."

Republicans hoped an off-year election with no statewide candidates on the ballot would help defuse the anti-Trump energy that powered previous cycles. GOP lawmakers also bet on the specter of a possible Trump impeachment providing a last-minute surge by motivating the Republican base. Republicans were able to hold on to several seats in close races but expressed disappointment with the overall outcome of the night.

House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert on Tuesday predicted that Democrats would pursue an "extreme agenda" that would undo Republican efforts to make Virginia a business-friendly state.

Democrats were keenly focused on gun issues

"Virginians should expect public policies that look a lot more like the train-wreck that is California than the Virginia of good fiscal management and common-sense conservative governance," Gilbert said in a statement.

Democrats were keenly focused on gun issues during the election, saying Republicans should be held accountable for failing to pass new restrictions after a mass shooting in Virginia Beach earlier this year.

Republicans accused Democrats of trying to use the tragedy for political gain while focusing heavily on past Democratic efforts to loosen restrictions for third-trimester abortion.

The Democratic victories Tuesday will make the legislature more diverse. Sen.-elect Ghazala Hashmi is the first Muslim-American woman to serve in the Senate. Del. Danica Roem, who made history as the first openly transgender person elected and seated in a U.S. state legislature, easily won reelection.

Jenne Nurse, a 25-year-old who recently accepted a state government job, said she was excited about the increasing diversity of the General Assembly.

"It's nice to see the Virginia Legislature look like Virginia. It's so important," said Nurse, who is black.

Tuesday's election could help cement Democratic rule for the next decade, because the winners will decide who controls the next redistricting process. Lawmakers approved a proposed constitutional amendment this year that would create a new bipartisan commission empowered to draw legislative and congressional maps, but Democrats would have to sign off on it again next year before it could be presented to voters.

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