Virginia Democrats pick McClellan as nominee for vacant House seat

Virginia state Sen. Jennifer McClellan overwhelmingly won the Democratic nomination for the special election in Virginia’s 4th Congressional District to replace the late Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-Va.).

The state party announced the results of Tuesday’s “firehouse primary” early Thursday morning, indicating McClellan received 23,661 votes, nearly 85 percent of the total ballots cast.

McClellan, the vice chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus who ran unsuccessfully for the 2021 Democratic gubernatorial nomination, would be the first Black woman to represent Virginia in Congress if she wins in February’s special election.

Virginia state Sen. Joseph Morrissey received about 14 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary, while two other candidates each received less than 1 percent.

“Thank you to the 27,900 voters who showed up to be heard at this historic Firehouse Primary. Onward to Election Day, #VA04!” McClellan wrote on Twitter.

The results pave the way for McClellan to face Republican Leon Benjamin Sr. to represent the district and replace McEachin, who died last month at the age of 61 from colorectal cancer. 

McClellan is the favorite to win the heavily Democratic district, which stretches from Richmond to the North Carolina border. McEachin handily won a fourth term weeks before his death.

After Virginia state Del. Lamont Bagby (D) dropped out of the race, the party largely united behind McClellan in the lead-up to the primary.

McClellan was endorsed by all of Virginia’s Democratic congressional delegation: Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and Reps. Elaine Luria, Bobby Scott, Abigail Spanberger, Don Beyer, Jennifer Wexton and Gerry Connolly.

She also received the endorsement of McEachin’s wife, Colette McEachin, who serves as Richmond’s commonwealth’s attorney.

Tags Jennifer McClellan Mark Warner special election

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