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Two more candidates join race to fill late Congressman Donald McEachin’s seat

Posted at 4:30 PM, Dec 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-14 17:42:14-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Two more candidates, one from each party, have joined the race to fill the late Congressman Donald McEachin’s seat in Virginia’s 4th Congressional District.

McEachin, who had just cruised to reelection for a fourth term, died from complications of colon cancer last month.

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that Feb. 21 is the date of the special election to fill that seat. Candidates must be on the ballot by December 23, so the two parties will have to pick their nominees by then.

Filing in the last 24 hours are Democrat Tavorise Marks and Republican Dale Sturdifen.

Marks joins a Democratic field that includes Del. Lamont Bagby, State Sens. Jennifer McClellan and Joe Morrissey and former Del. Joseph Preston.

Marks says he considers McEachin a legend and that the late congressman was a gentle giant, but that he sees himself as a fighter who's not afraid to be loud across a wide range of issues.

"Some of the issues I care most about are supporting voting rights, making sure a Voting Rights Act or bill is passed through Congress,” Marks said. “Supporting my Black farmers and the president of the Black Farmers Association, John Boyd, Jr. and getting what's due to them. Reproductive rights, supporting those individuals in the LGBTQ community, ensuring their rights are protected; raising the minimum wage to $16.50. You're gonna fight for $15 for so very long, but even $15.00 is not a livable wage here in America."

Sturdifen is the first Republican to file paperwork to run for the nomination, although Pastor Leon Benjamin, who lost to McEachin in last month's election by nearly thirty points, has said he plans to run again.

Sturdifen says he’s running on his experience after eight years as a Marine, 23 years as a Virginia State trooper and eight years as a Mecklenberg County School Board member.

“Education: that's the foundation of everything,” Sturdifen said. “No one would be where they're at without a good education, a good foundation. And there’s infrastructure: we have urban and rural areas of the district. Every home should have access to high-speed internet, every road should be without dead zones with your cell phones. We have constituents who can no longer have a phone line put at their home and at the same time, they have poor internet service, so the cell phone doesn't even work.”

Sturdifen said he’d work to bring high-paying jobs to the district, much the way he says Chesterfield County has done.

Virginia Republicans will hold a party canvass on Saturday at Life Christian Church at 1221 Boulevard in Colonial Heights from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. to pick their candidate.

Democrats will hold an election on December 20. Click here to find out where voters can cast ballots.