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Democrats to select congressional nominee in Virginia district

AP – Democrats in a Richmond-based congressional district voted yesterday to select a nominee for the seat held by the late Donald McEachin.

The party is holding a firehouse primary at eight voting sites throughout the state’s 4th Congressional District.

The winner will be a heavy favourite in a February 21 special election in a district where Democrats have a traditional advantage.

Four candidates are on the ballot: state senators Jennifer McClellan and Joe Morrissey, former legislator Joseph Preston and civil rights advocate Tavorise Marks.

The party’s establishment has coalesced around McClellan, who has received numerous endorsements. One formidable candidate, Delegate Lamont Bagby withdrew from the race and endorsed McClellan.

Establishment Democrats did not want to see McClellan and Bagby split the vote and create an avenue for Morrissey, a populist and twice-disbarred former prosecutor-turned-defence attorney who’s proved remarkably resilient over a three-decade career in electoral politics.

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

Voting at the polling sites for the party-run primary are not the same locations voters use in November elections.

The winner will face Republican Leon Benjamin in February.