Richmond, Va. (AP) – Virginia Republicans on Saturday selected Leon Benjamin as their nominee for the Feb. 21 special election to succeed the late U.S. Representative A. release.
Benjamin, a Richmond native, clergyman and Navy veteran who had twice unsuccessfully challenged McEachin before, was nominated through a process in which voters ranked three candidates in order of preference.
They defeated Dale Sturdifen and Derrick Holly. Sturdifen is a Marine veteran, former state trooper, and congressional staffer. Holly is a podcast host who runs an advocacy organization called Reaching America.
Benjamin faces an uphill climb in the special election given the solidly Democratic makeup of the 4th District, which has its population center in Richmond and extends south to the North Carolina border.
Democrats are choosing their candidate on Tuesday. State Sen. Jennifer McClellan has dropped an endorsement from the Virginia Democratic Party establishment. Also in the race is state Sen. Joe Morrissey, a controversial figure with a history of winning tough races; Former Dell. Joseph Preston; and civil rights advocate Tavorij Marx.
McEachin was elected to his first term in the US House in 2016 after serving in the General Assembly. He died last month at the age of 61 from what his staff said were complications from his long battle against colorectal cancer.
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