Four Democrats Vying to Win Virginia ‘Firehouse Primary’
WASHINGTON — The Virginia Democratic Party is holding a “firehouse primary” on Tuesday to determine who will fill the 4th Congressional District seat left vacant by the death of newly reelected Rep. A. Donald McEachin.
Virginia’s Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced Monday that he’s decided Feb. 21, 2023, will be the date of the special election to fill the vacancy caused by McEachin’s sudden death.
Because state law requires party nominees to be selected at least 60 days before an election, the deadline to pick the nominee is Dec. 23.
The Republican Party is expected to pick its candidate at a convention to be held on Saturday, but because the district, which encompasses the city of Richmond, is solidly blue, a number of Democrats have decided to throw their hats into the ring.
The two frontrunners at the moment are state Sens. Jennifer McClellan and Joseph Morrissey, who both represent Richmond.
Two other Democrats, Joseph Preston, who served one year in the House of Delegates, and Tavorise Marks, a State Farm Insurance agent, also are running.
One candidate, Virginia Del. Lamont Bagby, the first to enter the race, also became the first to drop out on Thursday morning.
The 4th Congressional District Democratic Committee has announced eight voting locations will be open across the district for Tuesday’s vote.
On Friday, the New Democrat Coalition Action Fund announced it was endorsing McClellan.
“While no one can ever truly fill the shoes of our dear friend Don, we know that Jennifer McClellan will carry on his legacy and commitment to Virginia,” said NewDem Action Fund Chair Brad Schneider in a written statement.
“Her work in the Virginia state Senate to increase access to quality, affordable health care, tackle climate change, protect Americans’ fundamental freedoms and strengthen our economy makes her the best choice to represent Richmond in the U.S. House and to follow in Rep. McEachin’s footsteps,” Schneider said. “NewDems look forward to working with her to break through the gridlock in Washington to deliver real results for the American people.”
For her part, McClellan said she was “honored” to garner the coalition’s support.
“I look forward to carrying on NewDem Rep. Don McEachin’s mission to improve the lives of all Virginians and working with NewDems in Congress on the issues Americans care about most, from increasing access to affordable, quality health care, to lowering costs for hardworking families and protecting our fundamental rights,” she said.