Democrat Kevin Washington has filed to run for the House of Delegates in Virginia’s 97th district.
Washington, a resident of New Kent County, is an army veteran who now works for the Department of Defense in information technology. The married father of three wants to raise the minimum wage, increase rural broadband access and increase teacher pay.
Washington is the only Democrat to have declared his candidacy ahead of the party’s May 29 caucus, where they will select a nominee.
The district is currently represented by Del. Chris Peace (R-Hanover), but Peace is facing a contentious challenge from hard-line conservative Scott Wyatt.
Washington told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the Republicans’ intra-party fighting had nothing to do with his decision to run for the seat, and Washington will face an uphill battle regardless of who he faces in November.
The 97th district is deeply conservative; President Trump won 68% of the vote there in 2016 and it’s been represented by a Republican since 2002, but Democrats are hoping that the ugly fight between Peace and Wyatt may give them a shot to flip the seat.
Peace, who has represented the district since 2006, has come under fire over his vote to expand Medicaid and has even been targeted by Virginia state Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Tommy Norment (R-James City), over the vote.
Washington, meanwhile, believes that “access to affordable quality healthcare should be a right” and wants to expand healthcare to reach all Virginians.