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Local News in Virginia

2nd, 4th Congressional Districts Have African-American Candidates

shaun brown
By Leonard E. Colvin
Chief Reporter
New Journal and Guide

The Democratic and Republican nominees for Congressional Districts 2 and 4 are in place for the November General Election. State Senator Donald McEachin of Richmond won easily in the Democratic Party primary race on June 14 against Chesapeake City Councilwomen Ella Ward to be the Democratic Party nominee in the newly reconfigured 4th Congressional District. He will face Henrico County Sheriff Mike Wade, who won the GOP primary on June 14.

The 2nd District winner on June 14 was State House Delegate Scott Taylor in the Republican primary race. No Democratic primary was held. However, Taylor will face Democratic businesswoman and activist Shaun Brown of Newport News for the 2nd District seat. Brown, an African-American, has run for office twice before unsuccessfully. She operates a non-profit organization called Jobs Virginia Community Development Corporation.

The 2nd Congressional District is said to be the most competitive in Virginia Accomack and Northampton Counties, the City of Virginia Beach, and parts of Norfolk are some the major locales in the district. Currently, Democrats represent only three of the state’s congressional districts, and the 3rd Strict represented by Congressman Bobby Scott is the only one that is majority African-American.

Federal courts ordered the 4th Congressional District to be reconfigured by moving Black voters from the nearby 3rd District into its boundaries, making the 2nd District less friendly to GOP. If McEachin, wins the 4th District in November, and If Brown should win her bid, Democrats could have two more seats and Blacks could represent three of them, 2nd, 3rd and 4th.
Since 1944, when the 2nd District was reborn due to redistricting, four Democrats and four Republicans have held the seat. Democrats have held it 38 years, the GOP has held it 44.
President Obama won the district in 2008 and 2012, by two percentage points. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine won it on their way to the State House and the Senate.

Brown said she is optimistic that a huge turnout among Democratic voters driven by the presence of Donald Trump at the top of the general election ticket come November, may help her make history. It is not clear if Taylor will run from Trump, who is popular among a large portion of the conservative members of the GOP’s base, but is causing moderate Republicans and Independents to squirm with his views on immigration and women.

“So we are on the verge of possible electing our first woman President and the first Black woman to be elected from Virginia to the House,” said Brown, a graduate of Brown University.
Taylor, former Navy Seal, may have an advantage in a congressional district which is heavily weighted with military bases and spending. A moderate tone on key social issues and support of heavy military spending could bolster the campaigns of both candidates.

Brown said she is aware of this and will also address job creation, economic diversity, the environment and using the military as a job creation machine for the district. She said she will ruin a “coordinated” campaign with the Clinton operation and other state political efforts to drive up voter turn-out throughout the district. According to Dr. Rudolph Wilson, a Professor of Political Science at NSU, and director of the university’s Center for Applied Research and Public Policy (CARPP), the 4th Congressional District in 1888, elected the first Black Virginian to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Born a free Black in Virginia to a freedwoman of mixed race and a white planter father, John Mercer Langston was elected to the U.S. Congress as the first representative of color from Virginia. Joseph Hayne Rainey, the Black Republican Congressman from South Carolina, had been elected in 1870 during the Reconstruction era.

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