Anya Sczerzenie, Staff Writer
Incumbent Rep. Donald McEachin was ahead of his Republican challenger on Tuesday night in Virginia’s 4th Congressional District, although absentee ballots and several precincts have yet to be counted.
The district is considered “safely Democratic,” according to Ballotpedia. If McEachin wins, he would serve his third term in the House. His challenger, Leon Benjamin, would be serving his first congressional term if he wins.
As of Tuesday night, according to the elections department, McEachin had a lead of 60.69% over Benjamin’s 39.19%. Four precincts out of 270 have yet to be counted as of Tuesday night, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.
The elections department stated Tuesday that results will continue to be counted through Friday afternoon and possibly throughout the weekend. Localities will certify their results Nov. 10.
McEachin was expected to keep his seat in what is considered a “solid Democratic” district by the Cook Political Report. He won the 2018 election with 62.6% of the vote and the 2016 election with 57.7%. The last time 4th District constituents elected a Republican congressman was in 2014, when former Rep. Randy Forbes was reelected.
As of Nov. 3, McEachin’s campaign raised about $890,000. His opponent raised around $445,000. Neither candidate in District 4 has spent much money on political advertisements.
During his first term in Congress, McEachin was one of many representatives who voted to impeach President Donald Trump. He supports expanding the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid and COVID-19 relief funds, according to his website. McEachin served on the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and the Committee on Natural Resources.
Before being elected to the House of Representatives, McEachin served in the Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia State Senate. He is the husband of Commonwealth Attorney Colette McEachin. The couple lives in Richmond and have three grown children.
Benjamin is an evangelical Christian, a pastor at the New Life Harvest Church in Southside and the chairman of Richmond’s Republican party. He is a conservative who supports the Second Amendment and an alternative to the Affordable Care Act.
In October, the candidates spoke to the Virginian-Pilot about how they would respond to the coronavirus in the district if elected.
“We need to extend unemployment, provide additional loans for small businesses so they can pay employees,” McEachin said. “We need to suspend evictions, we need to provide access to quality health care and we need to provide adequate essentials such as food for those who are struggling.”
Benjamin called on Congress to make a second round of stimulus checks and allocate additional funds for a federal paycheck protection program.
“Congress must continue their mission to protect employment and American businesses,” Benjamin said.
The 4th Congressional District contains the City of Richmond, areas south of the city, and the Hampton Roads area. The 3rd and 4th districts were redrawn in 2016 after the previous map was deemed unconstitutional. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, the 4th District shifted toward Democrats by 24 percentage points after being redrawn.
The district is 51% white, 43% Black, 2% Asian and 4% other races, according to VPAP. It was 62% white before redistricting took place.
Results for this race are as of 4:19 a.m. on Wednesday.