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Winsome Sears. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Winsome Sears (R) on Wednesday was elected lieutenant governor of Virginia, becoming the first woman of color to hold the position.

Why it matters: Sears defeated Democrat Hala Ayala and will serve a crucial role as the tie-breaking vote as president of the state Senate, AP reports.

State of play: The lieutenant governor's race was largely overshadowed by the gubernatorial race, Mark Rozell, dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, wrote in the Washington Post.

  • "[But] the winner is a potential tie-breaking vote on critical policy issues, next in the line of succession to lead the commonwealth and very often a future gubernatorial nominee," per Rozell.

Background: Originally from Jamaica, Sears served in the U.S. Marine Corps as an electrician. She also was the first Black Republican woman elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, where she served from 2002 to 2004.

  • She then served on the Virginia Board of Education, and was also a presidential appointee during President George W. Bush's administration to the Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Women Veterans to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Go deeper

Nov 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Welch preparing to run for Senate

Rep. Peter Welch. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) is indicating to colleagues he's preparing to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Vermont has never sent a woman to serve in either the House or Senate. Welch would likely clear the Democratic primary field but also would face the prospect of a challenge from the left, according to the Intercept.

Americans are super-sizing their holiday travel

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans are rushing back into holiday travel, and many are taking even longer trips now than they did before the pandemic began.

The big picture: After skipping Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings last year, many people are eager to maximize this year's celebrations with friends and family. And flexible remote working arrangements make that easier than ever.

Updated 16 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.