Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Youngkin to set special election to fill McEachin seat

A sign outside a voting location
Voters in Richmond and other nearby localities will head to the polls for a special election to replace Rep. Donald McEachin, who died Monday. The election's date has not yet been set.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin will set the date for a special election to replace former U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin, who died Monday evening.

Youngkin said Tuesday that he wanted to focus on remembering McEachin, rather than election scheduling. 

“We will make decisions with regards to the special election. Today, we're really focused on remembering the great contributions he made. And there are folks that I'm going to want to listen to as to the best time in order to call this,” Youngkin said at an event in Fairfax. “I want to make sure that Virginians are represented ... . But today's a day to really focus on the congressman."

The state constitution doesn’t specify how quickly Youngkin must set a date for the election — but it can’t occur within the 55 days before a primary or general election, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Elections.

The next scheduled primary is June 20. 

Both parties waiting to move forward until date is set

No candidate has yet declared their candidacy for the position, but the 4th District leans heavily Democratic. McEachin won an election earlier this month with 65% of the vote against Republican challenger Leon Benjamin.  

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe won 62% of the vote in the district during his failed 2021 bid for governor.  

Gianni Snidle, a spokesperson for the Democratic Party of Virginia, said the schedule Youngkin sets will determine Democrats’ plans.  

Rich Anderson, the chairperson of the Republican Party of Virginia, also said Republicans would wait for Youngkin to issue a “writ of election,” which sets the date of the special election, before officials determine what kind of nomination process they would use.  

If an election is 60 or more days after Youngkin sets the election date, candidates and parties have a filing deadline of 60 days before the election, according to the department spokesperson. If the election is less than 60 days from when Youngkin issues an election, the filing deadline is five days from when he sets the election. 

Two special elections for state legislators are already planned for Jan. 10: one for a House seat in Fairfax County and another to fill a vacant Senate seat in Hampton Roads.  

Rep. Rob Wittman, a Republican, first entered the U.S. House after winning a special election for the 1st Congressional District in 2007. George Allen, who went on to be governor, also won a special election for Congress in 1991.  

Constituents in the 4th District can still contact the office through normal avenues, a spokesperson for the office said.   

Jahd Khalil covers Virginia state politics for VPM News.