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Jennifer McClellan focusing on voting rights, reproductive health in run for Congress

Posted at 12:47 PM, Dec 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-14 08:24:47-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Democratic state Sen. Jennifer McClellan announced Tuesday her plan to run for U.S. Congress. She hopes to fill the 4th Congressional District seat of the late Democratic Rep. Donald McEachin.

"Reproductive health and addressing climate change are all top priorities and will remain top priorities for me," McClellan said. "I am going to help the people of the 4th District and beyond and to help them understand that the government is supposed to help them and solve their problems."

State Sen. Joe Morrissey (D - 16) also announced Tuesday that he planned to run for the 4th Congressional District seat.

Del. Lamont Bagby, who has represented part of suburban Richmond's Henrico County in the state House of Delegates for nearly a decade and chairs the powerful legislative Black caucus, announced his candidacy on Monday.

Democrat Joseph Preston, an attorney who served for a year in the General Assembly after winning a special election, declared his candidacy in a news release and filed paperwork on Tuesday. And Tavorise Marks, a civil rights activist and former state House candidate, announced a run on social media and officially filed paperwork shortly after midnight on Wednesday.

The partisan lean of the district, which includes parts of eastern Richmond and Henrico County, presents an enormous challenge to any Republican candidate and makes it a prize for a Democrat.

Democrat Terry McAuliffe defeated Youngkin last year in the district by 24 points, though he lost statewide by about two points, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project. U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine defeated his 2018 GOP opponent, Corey Stewart, in the district by 40 points, according to VPAP’s accounting.

On the Republican side, pastor Leon Benjamin who twice previously ran unsuccessfully against McEachin — announced he would run again.

Dale Sturdifen, a retired Virginia State Police officer and staffer for U.S. Rep. Bob Good, also confirmed his candidacy to CBS 6 on Tuesday and filed his formal paperwork later that day.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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