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Virginia special election set to fill McClellan Senate seat

Posted at 10:14 PM, Feb 22, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. -- A special election has been set for March 28 to fill the vacancy in the Virginia Senate created by Richmond Democrat Jennifer McClellan's election to the U.S. House of Representatives, and the political parties have just days to choose their nominees.

Louise Lucas, president pro tempore of the Senate, set the election date for Wednesday, one day after McClellan's victory. She said she picked it to ensure that the seat representing the blue-leaning 9th District was filled by the time lawmakers return in April to the Capitol to take up Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin's proposed amendments to legislation and vetoes. Democrats narrowly control the Senate.

Parties have until Monday to nominate their candidates, said Lucas, who has the authority to set the date because the Legislature is currently meeting.

A firehouse primary will be held on Sunday, February 26 to nominate a Democratic candidate. Polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Any person who considers themselves a Democrat and is a registered voter of the Ninth State Senate District can cast their ballot at any of these locations:

  • IBEW 666 - 1400 E Nine Mile Rd, Highland Springs, VA 23075
  • Ashland Municipal Building - 121 Thompson St, Ashland, VA 23005

Additional voting locations will be announced as they are added in Henrico, Richmond City, and Charles City.

That tight timeline sets up a scramble for candidates. At least three, all Democrats, have declared their intention to run: Del. Dawn Adams, Del. Lamont Bagby and party activist Alexsis Rodgers, who previously ran for Richmond mayor.

A Democratic Party committee voted Wednesday night to hold a firehouse primary on Sunday, according to a news release. Polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and polling locations are still being worked out.

The deadline for Democratic candidates to submit their filing fee, voter signatures and other paperwork is 7 p.m. Friday, the party said.

A spokesperson for the Republican Party of Virginia didn't respond to a request for comment.

Lucas set the special election after McClellan tendered a letter of resignation Wednesday, saying she intends to step down on March 7, or immediately after she is sworn in.

McClellan defeated Republican Leon Benjamin on Tuesday to become the first Black woman from Virginia elected to Congress.

Virginia's 9th Senate District is composed of Charles City County, parts of Hanover and Henrico counties, and part of Richmond. Whoever wins would fill the remainder of McClellan's term.

All 140 seats in the General Assembly are on the ballot in November. Candidates will be running in districts redrawn in the redistricting process.

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