Dec 1, 2022 - Politics

Speculation swirls on who Richmond's next Congress member will be

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

No one's talking openly yet about who will run to fill the late Rep. Don McEachin's seat representing Richmond in Congress.

Yes, but: That's not stopping wild speculation behind the scenes.

What we're hearing: We talked to every Richmond politician who would answer the phone Wednesday, and so far, Del. Lamont Bagby, a Democrat from Henrico, appears to have emerged as one of the most likely contenders for the seat.

  • Bagby is the chairman of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus and a mentee of McEachin.
  • He declined to say Wednesday whether he's considering a run, but told WRIC earlier this week that "there is no secret I've always wanted to follow in my big brother's footsteps."

It remains unclear whether Bagby would face a competitor in a Democratic nominating contest.

  • So far, other potential candidates include Richmond state Sen. Jennifer McClellan and former Petersburg Del. Lashrecse Aird.
  • There's also the possibility that McEachin's widow, Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Colette McEachin, could herself be interested in running for her husband’s seat.

What they’re saying: A spokesperson for McClellan referred Axios to her statements earlier this week, when she said it was too soon to discuss.

  • Likewise, Aird said in a text message that she’ll “address any potential candidacy in due course.”
  • Colette McEachin didn’t respond to messages seeking comment.

We can cross off a few potential candidates: Richmond state Sen. Joe Morrissey says he's happy in his current seat.

  • And Richmond Del. Jeff Bourne told Axios that he's humbled by suggestions he might run but "will not be a candidate."

Of note: The district is heavily Democratic, meaning whoever wins the party's nomination is most likely heading to Congress next year.

What's next: It's up to Gov. Youngkin to call a special election, and so far he hasn't given any clues about the likely timing.

Meanwhile, a memorial has been scheduled for McEachin next Wednesday at St. Paul's Baptist Church at 11am.

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