Virginia Voters Could Elect Their First Black Congresswoman


FILE - State Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Hanover, speaks at the Call for Action on Gun Safety at St. Paul's Episcopal Church on Friday, Jan. 13, 2023, in Richmond, Va. Voters in a Richmond-based Virginia congressional district will settle a special election Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, for the open seat previously held by the late Democratic U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin, who died in November shortly after being elected to a fourth term. Democratic nominee McClellan faces GOP opponent, pastor Leon Benjamin. (AP Photo/John C. Clark, File)
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It’s an exciting day in Virginia as voters head to the polls for a potentially historic special election. In one corner is Democratic State Senator Jennifer L. McClellan from Richmond, and a win would make her the state’s first Black congresswoman. In the other corner is conservative pastor Leon Benjamin, who wants to unify voters but has never held an elected office.

The fourth congressional district seat is vacant following the death of US Representative A. Donald McEachin in November. McClellan has centered her campaign on her major legislative packages, including the Virginia Clean Economy Act and the Voting Rights Act of Virginia. She has promised to continue McEachin’s legacy on environmental justice and women’s rights, including access to abortion, and has pledged to address issues that disproportionately affect Black women, such as domestic workers’ rights and maternity mortality.

Polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Early voting has been ongoing since January.

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