AP

Virginia state Sen. McClellan wins Democratic nomination

Dec 21, 2022, 11:45 AM | Updated: Dec 22, 2022, 7:52 am

FILE - Virginia state Sen. Jennifer McClellan speaks in support for the Equal Rights Amendment to b...

FILE - 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. McClellan has won the Democratic nomination to succeed the late A. Donald McEachin in Congress, party officials said. McClellan won the nomination in the firehouse primary, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022, over Sen. Joe Morrissey and two other candidates. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — Virginia state Sen. Jennifer McClellan has overwhelmingly won the Democratic nomination to succeed the late A. Donald McEachin in Congress, party officials said Thursday.

McClellan won the nomination 85% of the vote in Tuesday’s firehouse primary over Sen. Joe Morrissey, who netted just 14%, and two other candidates.

She will be the overwhelming favorite in the heavily Democratic 4th Congressional District when a special election is held Feb. 21.

“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.

Republicans on Saturday picked Leon Benjamin, a Richmond native, pastor and Navy veteran who has twice unsuccessfully challenged McEachin, as their nominee.

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

At a news conference Thursday morning, McClellan said she plans to “bring a new perspective to the Virginia delegation that has never had a Black woman sitting at the table.”

McClellan, 49, 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.

If elected to Congress, she would represent the state’s 4th District, a majority-minority district based in Richmond that stretches south to the North Carolina border.

Establishment Democrats coalesced around McClellan in her campaign against Morrissey, a populist and twice-disbarred former prosecutor-turned-defense attorney who’s proved remarkably resilient over a three-decade career in electoral politics.

Morrissey had accused Democrats of working against him in planning Tuesday’s primary, which was held on short notice after McEachin’s death Nov. 28 after a battle with colon cancer.

Morrissey issued a statement Thursday congratulating McClellan and promising to support her.

“Virginia has never sent a Black woman to congress. That will change next year. This is progress of which we all can all be proud,” he said.

McEachin’s widow, Colette — herself an elected official in Richmond — was among a number of high-profile endorsers of McClellan. Del. Lamont Bagby dropped out of the race last week in a move widely seen as an effort to prevent Morrissey from emerging victorious on a fractured ballot.

McClellan fought back tears at Thursday’s news conference when asked about McEachin, whom she considered a mentor.

“I feel him here,” she said. “I will carry on his legacy.”

The primary was run by the Democratic Party, with balloting at eight sites located throughout the district. Virginia voters do not register by political party, so voting was open to all registered voters willing to sign a pledge indicating they are a Democrat and intend to support the party’s nominee.

Voting occurred Tuesday but the party did not begin counting ballots until Wednesday. Counting continued through the night Wednesday, until the party announced results around 4 a.m. Thursday.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

13 hours ago

Image: Members of the Makah Indian tribe paddle away from the rising sun as they head from Neah Bay...

Associated Press

Washington’s Makah Tribe clears major hurdle toward resuming traditional whale hunts

The U.S. granted the Makah Indian Tribe a long-sought waiver that helps clear the way for its first sanctioned whale hunts since 1999.

2 days ago

jerry west...

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Jerry West, a 3-time Hall of Fame selection and the NBA logo, dies at 86

Jerry West, a three-time Basketball Hall of Fame inductee whose silhouette is considered to be the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday morning.

3 days ago

Photo: Construction vehicles are parked outside of the Station U & O building on Tuesday, June 11, ...

Haleluya Hadero, The Associated Press

Amazon adds $1.4B to affordable housing fund for regions where it has corporate offices

Amazon is adding $1.4B to a fund for building more affordable housing in regions where the company has major corporate offices.

4 days ago

hunter biden...

Randall Chase and the Associated Press

Hunter Biden convicted of all 3 felony charges in federal gun trial

Hunter Biden has been convicted of all three felony charges related to the purchase of a revolver in 2018, but no sentencing date was set.

4 days ago

Photo: A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real e...

Associated Press

Bremerton man sentenced for 20 ‘swatting’ calls of false threats in US, Canada

A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real emergency responses, has been sentenced.

5 days ago

Virginia state Sen. McClellan wins Democratic nomination