RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — State Sen. Jennifer McClellan has picked up an endorsement from U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine in her bid to fill the late Rep. Donald McEachin’s seat in Congress.
Sen. McClellan (D-Richmond) announced her candidacy for Virginia’s 4th Congressional District seat, which was left vacant by the sudden death of McEachin, on Tuesday.
She’s among at least six potential candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in a Feb. 21 special election to fill the Richmond-area congressional seat. Those who qualify will face off for the nomination in a party-run primary on Dec. 20.
Sen. Kaine (D-Va.) said he was proud to endorse McClellan on Wednesday, noting that she represented him in the Virginia General Assembly as a state delegate and state senator.
In a statement, Kaine said he was “excited” by the idea that McClellan could become the first Black woman to represent the commonwealth in Congress.
“I have seen over my nearly 30 years in politics that old attitudes and double standards still make it harder for women to succeed in this line of work,” Kaine said. “That’s why, in a nation where more than half of all voters are women, only 27% of the membership of Congress are women. We can advance progress for Virginia and the nation by electing Jenn.”
McClellan, an attorney set for her 17th year in the General Assembly, first served in the Virginia House of Delegates before winning the state Senate seat McEachin held before he went to Congress.
McEachin easily won reelection to represent Virginia’s 4th District in Congress, a seat he held since 2017, just a few weeks before his death after a battle with colorectal cancer, according to a press release. His office has vowed to represent the district until a new representative is elected.
“The loss of Donald McEachin, a friend of nearly 40 years and my own Congressman, still fills me with sadness. I said when he passed that he would not have a replacement—because there is no replacing him—but that I hoped he would have a worthy successor,” Kaine said Wednesday. “I believe Jenn McClellan is that person.”