Breaking News
More () »

Historic implications for Tuesday's special election in Virginia's 4th District

If Jennifer McClellan wins, she would become the first Black woman ever elected to Congress by Virginia voters.

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia voters could make history on Tuesday.

Democratic State Senator Jennifer McClellan will take on Republican pastor Leon Benjamin, as 4th District voters pick their next member of Congress. It's a special election to fill the seat of the late Donald McEachin, who died shortly after his re-election in November.

READ MORE | Use this tool to see if you can vote in the special House election in Virginia's 4th District

The outcome has historic implications.

The deep-blue 4th Congressional District has been rated "Safe Democratic" by the University of Virginia's Center for Politics' Sabato's Crystal Ball.

If McClellan wins as expected, she would become the first Black woman that Virginia has ever sent to Congress.

Dr. Marvin Chiles is an assistant professor of African American history at Old Dominion University. In an interview with 13News Now, he said, these kinds of milestones -- such as in 2021 when Republican Winsome Earle-Sears became Virginia's first Black woman to be elected Lieutenant Governor, or in 1989, when Democrat Doug Wilder became Virginia's and America's first elected Black governor -- are important.

He said: "Yes, you have the representation front. As in, it signals to Black women, young Black girls that hey, people who look like you can occupy positions of power. And they can be respected and occupy that position of power."

This is the third time that Benjamin has run for the 4th District seat. Last fall, he lost to McEachin by 30 points. In 2020, Benjamin also lost to McEachin, that time by 23 points.

For more information about voting in this election, click or tap here.

Before You Leave, Check This Out