More candidates enter race for Virginia’s 4th Congressional District

One day after the governor set the special election for February, we are already seeing the list of candidates wanting to go to Washington grow.
Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 3:12 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - At the Virginia State Capitol on Tuesday, Jennifer McClellan announced she’s running to become the 4th District’s next representative in Congress.

The state senator, invoking Donald McEachin’s name, says her focus would be on voting rights, reproductive concerns and environmental legislation. At her kickoff event, McClellan reflected on those who came before her.

“And listening to their stories, I understood that my calling was to make government a force to help people and solving problems,” said McClellan, currently a Virginia state senator

In Petersburg, State Sen. Joe Morrissey also announced a bid for Congress. Surrounded by city officials, Morrissey touted his accomplishments at the statehouse and said he could do the same at the federal level. He says criminal justice reform is a top priority.

“I have consistently and constantly looked out for the marginalized, those who don’t have the same benefits that all of us and all of you have, I’ve watched out for them,” said Morrissey.

Other Democratic candidates announcing runs include attorney Joseph Preston. He’s held office before and believes there should be a debate on the Democratic side before a Firehouse Primary on Tuesday.

Tavorise K. Marks - founder of Commonwealth Equal - also announced that he’s running.

On the Republican side, at least one more person has come forward to run. Dale Sturdifen, a former Mecklenburg County School Board chairman, says he’s filing his paperwork.

Leon Benjamin also announced he’s running for the 4th District seat again, after losing to McEachin on election night.

The Republican committee for the 4th District says it will likely have a canvas on Saturday from 10 am until 3 pm., but details are still being finalized.


The 4th District Democratic Committee announced that it will hold a “Firehouse Primary” on Tuesday, Dec. 20 to determine the candidate who will appear on the special election ballot.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Brunswick Conference Center - 100 Athletic Field Road, Lawrenceville
  • Dogtown Dance Studio - 109 W 15th Street, Richmond
  • Diversity Richmond - 1407 Sherwood Ave,, Richmond
  • IBEW Local 666 - 1390 E Nine Mile Road, Highland Springs
  • Tabernacle Baptist Church - 444 Halifax St., Petersburg

Voters will need to bring one of the same methods of identification that are required to vote in a normal state-run election.

Click/tap here for more information about the primary.