McClellan Wins Democratic Nomination in Virginia’s 4th CD

December 22, 2022 by Dan McCue
McClellan Wins Democratic Nomination in Virginia’s 4th CD
Virginia state Sen. Jennifer McClellan speaks in support for the Equal Rights Amendment to be added to the U.S. Constitution at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Oct. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia state Sen. Jennifer McClellan overwhelmingly won the Democratic nomination to succeed the late A. Donald McEachin in Congress, garnering 84.81% of the vote, party officials announced early Thursday morning.

McClellan far outdistanced her chief rival for the party’s nod, Joseph Morrissey, receiving 23,661 votes in Tuesday’s so-called firehouse primary, to his 3,782 (amounting to 13.56% of what Democratic party officials are calling a record vote in a party-run nomination contest).

Tavorise Marks came in third, netting 217 votes (or 0.78% of the total) and Joseph Preston got 174 votes (0.62% of the total).

Sixty-six votes, (0.24% of the total) were “unallocated.”

“Tuesday’s party-run process saw historic turnout with 27, 900 votes cast, making it the largest party-run nomination process in the history of the Democratic Party of Virginia,” according to the party’s website.

Voter turnout even exceeded the last state-run primary in the 4th Congressional District when 15,728 votes were cast.

In fact, it took the party’s vote counters until 4:05 a.m. Thursday to complete their tabulations.

The primary election to nominate a successor to McEachin, who died last month, came after a brief seven-day campaign — the result of Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin having set a special election date of Feb. 21 to choose a successor. 

Under state law, nominees must be chosen at least 60 days before the special election — meaning the two parties had until the end of this week to choose their candidates.

McClellan will now face Republican Leon Benjamin, a Richmond native, pastor and Navy veteran, who was chosen to represent the GOP at a party caucus held last Saturday.

Benjamin twice unsuccessfully challenged McEachin, and made headlines the last time when he initially refused to concede the outcome of the contest.

If McClellan wins in February, she will become the first Black woman to represent Virginia in Congress.

McClellan, a corporate attorney, has represented parts of the Richmond area in the General Assembly since 2006.

 She ran for governor in 2021 but lost the Democratic primary to Terry McAuliffe.

The 4th Congressional District, a majority-minority district, stretches from Richmond to the North Carolina border.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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