‘I Look Like the Strategy’: Winsome Sears Wants Black Voters to Rethink the G.O.P.

The incoming lieutenant governor of Virginia was an unlikely candidate: a deeply conservative Black woman, and an immigrant, who supports Donald Trump.

By Campbell Robertson
Dec. 27, 2021

RICHMOND, Va. — On a December afternoon, Winsome Sears, Virginia’s lieutenant governor-elect, stood at the podium in the State Senate chamber where she will soon preside. It was empty but for a few clerks and staffers who were walking her through a practice session, making pretend motions and points of order. Ms. Sears followed along as the clerks explained arcane Senate protocols, though she occasionally raised matters that weren’t in the script.

“What if they’re making a ruckus?” Ms. Sears asked her tutors.

Then, a clerk said, pointing to the giant wooden gavel at Ms. Sears’s right hand, you bang that. Ms. Sears smiled.

That she was standing here at all was an improbability built upon unlikelihoods. Her campaign was a long shot, late in starting, skimpily funded and repeatedly overhauled. The political trajectory that preceded it was hardly more auspicious: She appeared on the scene 20 years ago, winning a legislative seat in an upset, but after one term and a quixotic bid for Congress, disappeared from electoral politics. She briefly surfaced in 2018, announcing a write-in protest against Virginia’s Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, but this earned her little beyond a few curious mentions in the press.

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