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Donald McEachin died 20 days after his reelection to Congress. Who will serve in his place?

Posted at 4:38 PM, Nov 29, 2022

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. A. Donald McEachin, D-Va., died Monday after a battle with colorectal cancer, his office said. He was 61. McEachin represented Virginia's 4th Congressional District, which includes part of Richmond and extends south to the North Carolina border. He was reelected to a fourth term earlier this month.

There are several steps that have to be followed before McEachin's seat can be filled.

  • First Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will have to announce the vacancy
  • Then Governor Glen Younkin will issue a writ of election. In other words, the governor will order a special election to fill the vacancy.

That special election generally takes place within 120 days of when the vacancy is announced, as long as that date is not within 55 of a primary or general election. If the vacancy were announced today, the deadline to hold the election would be Wednesday, March 29, 2023. The deadline for candidates to file would be 60 days before that.

"The Governor is going to call for a special election. So in that sense, the Democrats are going to have to decide how they're going to select the candidate and the Republicans are going to have to decide how sort of seriously they're going to compete for this seat," CBS 6 political analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth said.

McEachin won reelection in 2022 with 65% of the vote.

"This is a seat that's really relatively safe Democratic. Republicans are unlikely to win it in 2024 when you're running for president," Holsworth said. "If they're going to have any shot at the seat at all, they have to do it in the special election."

Governor Youngkin said it was too early to say when he would call for that election, that it was time to focus on McEachin's passing.

The State Board of Elections said Tuesday there would be no state-run primaries to nominate the candidate, so how the parties will choose their candidates is unclear right now.

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D - Virginia) said it was far too early to speculate who might run for McEachin's vacant seat.

"Donald's team has said we're going to serve constituents until there's a successor that's elected. And that's very much what Team McEachin would do," Kaine said. "I was happy to hear them say that because that's what Donald would want. But I hope that there can be a special election promptly within the new year to make sure that the Fourth is represented."

McEachin graduated from St. Christopher’s School in Richmond in 1979, then earned a bachelor’s degree at American University in 1982 and a law degree at the University of Virginia in 1986. He earned a master of divinity degree at Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University in 2008.

A lawyer in private practice during his career, he served in the House of Delegates from 1996-2002 and 2006-2008 and then the state Senate from 2008-2016. He was elected to his first term to the U.S. House in 2016.

McEachin and his wife, Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin, raised three children, Mac, Briana and Alexandra.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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