U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine has endorsed state Sen. Jennifer McClellan in the Special Election for Virginia’s 4th Congressional District.
“I am proud to endorse Jenn McClellan for Congress in the upcoming special election for the Virginia 4th Congressional District. I have been a mentor to Jenn since before she ran for her first political office,” Kaine wrote in a Wednesday statement.
“She has represented me as a Delegate and State Senator and done so with passion and distinction. I officiated at her wedding to Dave and have watched her balance the roles of legislator, lawyer, wife and mother with grace.”
Democrats are lining up to replace the late U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin, who passed away Nov. 28. The Special Election is set for Feb. 21, 2023. Democrats will choose their nominee in a firehouse Primary Dec. 20, a party-run process different from standard primaries run by state or local election officials.
McClellan is one of several potential nominees. She announced her candidacy Tuesday.
State Delegate Lamont Bagby, who had been seeking the party’s nomination, suspended his campaign Thursday and also endorsed McClellan.
“Jennifer has long been a fighter for Virginians and has the commitment, passion and record to continue delivering for Rep. McEachin’s constituents,” Bagby posted on Twitter.
State Sen. Joe Morrissey is also seeking the Democratic nomination, as are Joseph Preston, a former state delegate, and Tavorise Marks, a civil rights advocate and entrepreneur, according to ABC 8 News. Social worker Elliott Cox-Wardrick has also filed to run and is collecting signatures ahead of Friday’s deadline, ABC 8 wrote.
But McClellan seems to have momentum on her side with several other endorsements. Former state Delegate Viola Baskerville, her predecessor in that chamber, endorsed McClellan when she announced on Tuesday, as did Richmond City Council member Michael Jones.
She also has endorsements from Senate President Pro Temper Louise Lucas, state Sen. Mamie Locke, Richmond School Board members Kenya Gibson and Liz Doerr, Richmond City Council member Ann-Francis Lambert, Henrico County School Board member Alicia Atkins, Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors member Jim Holland and Chesterfield School Board member Dot Heffron, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Democrats are widely expected to hold the seat in the deep blue district.