Feb 23, 2023 - Politics

Rep.-elect Jenn McClellan's winning margins

VA-04 February 2023 special election margins, by locality
Data: Virginia Department of Elections; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

It turns out the third time was definitely not the charm for Republican Leon Benjamin.

What's happening: Democratic state Sen. — now Rep.-elect — Jenn McClellan beat Benjamin by 50 points in Tuesday's special election.

  • That's 20 points better than the late Don McEachin did against Benjamin last November.
  • And it included victories in Republican strongholds like Dinwiddie County.

What they're saying: No one expected Benjamin to win, but the race was being watched as one of the country's first post-midterm special congressional elections.

  • The New York Times' Nate Cohn noted some encouraging signs for Democrats, calling it the first time in a while that "Democrats have overperformed in such a diverse district."

Yes, but: Don't read too much into low Republican turnout, said University of Mary Washington political science professor Stephen Farnsworth.

  • "The Republican prospects were widely recognized as dim, which would have been a disincentive to participate," he said. "That being said, the McClellan campaign didn't act like this was a coronation. They worked the special election very aggressively."

What's next: Another snap election to fill McClellan’s seat in the Senate.

  • The special election is set for March 28.
  • To meet a Monday filling deadline, Democrats say they’ll hold a firehouse primary Sunday to nominate a candidate for the deep-blue district. (No word yet from Republicans.)
  • So far, Del. Lamont Bagby, Del. Dawn Adams and Democratic Party official Alexsis Rodgers have announced runs.

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