Jennifer McClellan Wins Election, Becomes Virginia’s First African American Congresswoman

( – Jennifer McClellan became Virginia’s first-ever African American Congresswoman after winning the Virginia Congressional special elections, CNN reported. McClellan won the special election for Virginia’s 4th Congressional district and defeated Republican Leon Benjamin. McClellan is to succeed the late Democrat Representative Donald McEachin, who died in November.

McEachin, aged 61 at the time of his passing, died after a long battle with colorectal cancer. He was elected in 2016, still battling the effects of his struggle with the disease in 2013. McEachin’s passing sparked the need for a special election, CNN reported. In a statement released by the former offices of McEachin, his chief of staff, Tara Rountree, stated that the office would be kept open. McEachin’s offices kept representational services active, and will now transfer representative powers to McClellan and her staff.

McClellan stated that Virginians should “come together” to care more about getting things done than about political soundbites. She stated that under her representation, the Virginian Commonwealth would become “better for everyone.”

Political analysts and historians called McClellan’s election a “milestone” for the state, which was once the capital of the Confederacy, and was a former trading hub of the Atlantic Slave Trade. McClellan’s election has added to the historical record-breaking number of African American women elected to Congressional representative roles in recent history.

McClellan was confident of her candidacy, USA Today reported. On the day before the election was called, McClellan tweeted that there was “just one day left” before Virginia elected its first black woman from Virginia to Congress.

The Virginian 4th District is heavily Democratic, and McClellan won the public favoritism as opposed to her Republican counterpart Leon Benjamin, an African American pastor and veteran and an advocate of the Republican National Committee’s Black Republican Trailblazer Program. Benjamin and McClellan have opposite campaign agendas, with Benjamin heavily advocating strong conservative values, including parents’ rights.

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