Regardless of whether it will be Democrat Hala Ayala or Republican Winsome Sears, they'll draw from their personal experiences as the next administration tackles challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic, crime, education and racial justice, even if they don't agree on the political remedies.
She will also face the aftermath of a racial reckoning that has brought the commonwealth into a national spotlight. The killing of George Floyd last year ignited emotional debates about policing and the lingering presence of Confederate imagery. The pandemic has hit Black and brown communities especially hard, and a contentious debate over the teaching of race in the state's public schools has emerged as a major issue in the gubernatorial campaign's final weeks.
Politically, Virginia has gone from a slave trading mecca that once held the capital of the Confederacy to a state that has trended blue in recent elections.
Two women of color are now running for its second-highest office, nearly two years after the state's General Assembly elected its first female speaker of the House in its 400-year legislative history.
All of this makes Ayala and Sears' candidacies "critical" for this moment in the commonwealth's history, Kimberly Peeler-Allen, a co-founder of Higher Heights, a national organization that seeks to help Black women get elected to political office, told CNN.
"It shows that people of color, women of color are not a monolith by any stretch, but it also speaks to the evolution of Virginia," said Peeler-Allen, who is also a visiting practitioner with the Center for American Women and Politics. "There's a lot of promise in advancing women of color in leadership in the commonwealth and the country by looking at this race."
Read more about Virginia's lieutenant governor's race here.