State Senator Jennifer McClellan Wins Fourth District Special Election to Succeed Rep. Donald McEachin

Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Virginia State Sen. Jennifer McClellan, smiles as she greets voters at an early voting location in Richmond, Va., Saturday, May 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

By Meghin Moore

February 21, 2023

State Senator Jennifer McClellan has been declared the winner of the special election held today in Virginia’s fourth congressional district, which is made up of parts of Richmond, Colonial Heights, Petersburg, and Emporia. 

Sen. Jennifer McClellan will be the first Black woman to represent Virginia in Congress.

This contest had already made some history, as McClellan became the Democratic nominee in the race by winning the highest-turnout “firehouse primary” in the history of Virginia in December. With her election, the number of Black women serving in the House of Representatives will reach an all-time high.

In 2006, McClellan began her career in elected office when she was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates; she was elected to the state Senate in 2017. 

At the state level, some of McClellan’s legislative accomplishments include ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment; the passage of the Voting Rights Act of Virginia, the Reproductive Health Protection Act, and the Pregnant Worker Fairness Act; helping to create a state-based health exchange under the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare); the creation of the Virginia School Construction Fund and Program; and working to address the school-to-prison pipeline.

McClellan continued the legacy of Rep. Don McEachin, her predecessor in both the state Senate and now Congress, by helping restore historic African American cemeteries in the commonwealth. She has also pledged to continue the work of McEachin, who died shortly after winning reelection to the US House last fall, on issues around environmental justice and reproductive rights.

“Her leadership will expand upon the outstanding progress and advocacy for which we remember Congressman A. Donald McEachin – I cannot think of a better way to honor his life and legacy than with the new generation of leadership that Congresswoman-elect Jennifer McClellan will bring to Washington,” said Susan Swecker, Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia.

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