State Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D) was projected to defeat Republican Leon Benjamin in the special election for Virginia’s 4th congressional district on Tuesday, becoming the first Black woman to represent the commonwealth in Congress.
The Associated Press called the race at 7:22 p.m. ET.
McClellan will replace the late Rep. Don McEachin (D-Va.), who died in November.
The district spans between Richmond and the North Carolina state line. The state senator was favored to win the special election, which the Cook Political Report rates as heavily Democratic.
McClellan was backed by influential Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill, including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), former House Democratic Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), along with every Democrat from Virginia’s congressional delegation.
She handily won the party’s primary for the seat in December, receiving 84 percent of the votes. Early voting kicked off in the district last month and wrapped on Saturday.
The state senator turned congresswoman-elect was first elected to Virginia’s House of Delegates in 2006 and was elected to the state Senate in 2017. In 2021, she ran in Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial primary but came in third place behind Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy and 2021 nominee and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe. If either had won the primary, McClellan and Carroll Foy would have been the first Black woman to serve as governor of the Commonwealth.