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Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Candidates Face Off In Democratic Primary

Colette McEachin and Alexander L. “Alex” Taylor Jr.
Colette McEachin and Alexander L. “Alex” Taylor Jr. (Photo: Richmond City Democratic Committee)

Richmond voters will get a chance Thursday and Saturday to choose the Democratic nominee for Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney. The two candidates facing off in this week’s primary election are Colette McEachin and Alexander L. “Alex” Taylor Jr..

McEachin was tapped to serve as interim Commonwealth's Attorney when Mike Herring resigned on July 1st. She’s been a deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney in Richmond for more than a decade.

Taylor is a private defense attorney, retired colonel in the U.S. Army and former senior assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Richmond. Taylor emphasized his military service during a candidate forum last week. 

“Who better to be an advocate for new bills, new legislation aimed at bettering our criminal justice system than someone with this kind of vast experience on both sides of the aisle and the bench,” Taylor said, adding he’s also served as a military judge.  “I know longer want to be just a soldier. I want to be a soldier for this community,” he said.

McEachin responded that Richmond doesn’t need a soldier.

“We have had a war on poverty, and soldiers didn’t work there,” McEachin said. We had a war on drugs. Soldiers didn’t work there. What Richmond needs is an innovator.”

Both candidates are in favor of banning firearms in public and municipal buildings, decriminalizing simple marijuana possession and diverting low-level nonviolent offenders from jail.

The polls are open Thursday, August 8 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday August 10 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Main Branch Public Library and the Southside Community Services Center.

Whomever wins the primary will be the Richmond City Democratic Committee’s nominee in a special election scheduled November 5. The victor will serve out the remainder of Herring’s term, which ends in 2021. 

There are currently no challengers in this race outside the Democratic Party. The deadline to file for candidacy is Friday, August 16.

*This story's been updated to clarify that polls are open on both Thursday and Saturday at both locations.

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Whittney Evans is VPM News’ features editor.
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