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Jennifer McClellan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jennifer McClellan
Official portrait, 2023
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 4th district
Assumed office
March 7, 2023
Preceded byDonald McEachin
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 9th district
In office
January 13, 2017 – March 7, 2023
Preceded byDonald McEachin
Succeeded byLamont Bagby
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 71st district
In office
January 11, 2006 – January 13, 2017
Preceded byViola Baskerville
Succeeded byJeff Bourne
Personal details
Jennifer Leigh McClellan

(1972-12-28) December 28, 1972 (age 51)
Petersburg, Virginia, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
David Mills
(m. 2008)
EducationUniversity of Richmond (BA)
University of Virginia (JD)
WebsiteHouse website
Campaign website

Jennifer Leigh McClellan (born December 28, 1972) is an American politician and attorney who has served as the U.S. representative for Virginia's 4th congressional district since 2023. A member of the Democratic Party, she represented the 9th district in the Virginia State Senate from 2017 to 2023 and the 71st district in the Virginia House of Delegates from 2009 to 2017. She ran in the Democratic primary for governor of Virginia in the 2021 election, losing to former governor Terry McAuliffe.[1]

McClellan was the Democratic nominee in the 2023 Virginia's 4th congressional district special election,[1][2] and defeated Republican nominee Leon Benjamin with 74.4% of the vote.[3] She is the first Black woman elected to Congress from Virginia.[4]

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/1
  • Orientation Address by Sen. Jennifer McClellan ’97


Early life and education

McClellan was born in Petersburg, Virginia.[5] Her father, James Fennimore McClellan Jr., was a professor at Virginia State University, where her mother, Lois Dedeaux McClellan, worked as a counselor.[6] Both her parents were involved in civil rights activism.[7] She attended Matoaca High School in Chesterfield County, where she was valedictorian.[8] She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science from the University of Richmond in 1994, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1997.[9][10]

Early career

McClellan speaking at the Virginia Pension Protection Coalition press conference in March 2012

After law school, McClellan began practicing law at Hunton & Williams.[8] She has also worked as regulatory counsel for Verizon Communications.[11]

Virginia House of Delegates

In 2005, she ran for office for the first time, seeking the Virginia House of Delegates seat vacated by Viola Baskerville, who stepped down to run for lieutenant governor of Virginia. McClellan won the election and from 2006 to 2017 represented the 71st district in the House of Delegates, which comprised parts of the city of Richmond and Henrico County.[8][12]

McClellan has served as vice chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia.[13] As the highest-ranking female party officer, she was also automatically a member of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). As a DNC member, she was a superdelegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention.[14] She has also served as vice chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus[15] and became the first pregnant Virginia delegate to participate in a legislative session.[8]

McClellan was an outspoken critic of Governor Bob McDonnell's efforts to overhaul Virginia's pension system in 2012. She opposed the cuts to retirement benefits for teachers and public safety employees, and argued that Republican lawmakers had rushed the legislation to minimize any scrutiny from Democrats and labor unions.[16][17]

Virginia Senate

McClellan was elected to the Virginia Senate in a special election on January 10, 2017, to fill the 9th district seat vacated by Donald McEachin's election to the U.S. House of Representatives. She defeated Libertarian Party nominee Corey Fauconier.[18] In the race, she was endorsed by McEachin, as well as Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, and Governor Terry McAuliffe.[19] Her seat was once held by former governor Douglas Wilder.

In 2019, McClellan co-sponsored the Repeal Act, which would have lifted some of Virginia's restrictions on abortion.[20] In 2020, she introduced legislation to help end the school-to-prison pipeline by training school resource officers in adolescent psychology.[21] She has also sponsored the Virginia Clean Economy Act[22] and the Voting Rights Act of Virginia, both of which were signed into law. She called the passage of the Voting Rights Act "a huge victory for our democracy. While other states are threatening voting rights, Virginia took a major step today to protect the right to vote."[23] She led the commissioning of the Emancipation and Freedom Monument, which was installed on Brown's Island in September 2021.[24]

2021 gubernatorial campaign

2021 gubernatorial campaign logo

In June 2020, McClellan announced her candidacy for governor of Virginia in 2021.[12] In a Democratic primary debate at Virginia State University, she called herself a "nominee who will excite and expand our base. I’ve spent 31 years building this party and electing Democrats at the local, state and national level. It’s not enough to give someone something to vote against. We’ve got to give people something to vote for."[25] Her campaign was attacked by Senate colleague Amanda Chase, who claimed that McClellan's leadership role in the Legislative Black Caucus disqualified her from representing all Virginians as governor (Chase was later censured for her racist remark, among other controversies).[26]

Former governor Terry McAuliffe, whose transition team McClellan led when he was elected in 2013,[27] won the nomination, with former state delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy taking a distant second place and McClellan not far behind in third.[28] McAuliffe went on to narrowly lose the general election to Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin.[29] Had either McClellan or Carroll Foy won the election, she would have become the first female governor of Virginia, the second Black governor of Virginia after Douglas Wilder, and the first Black female U.S. governor.[30]

U.S. House of Representatives


2023 special

McClellan was the Democratic nominee in the 2023 special election for Virginia's 4th congressional district;[2][31] the seat became vacant when incumbent Donald McEachin died from colorectal cancer on November 28, 2022. She won a firehouse primary on December 20, 2022, then defeated pastor Leon Benjamin in the general election on February 21, 2023.[32][33][34] She is the first Black woman elected to Congress from Virginia.[35] She was sworn in on March 7, 2023.[36][37]

Caucus memberships

Committee assignments

Personal life

McClellan married David Mills on November 15, 2008.[41][42] Her mentor, Tim Kaine, officiated the wedding ceremony.[8] She and her husband live in Richmond with their two children. She is a Presbyterian.[10]

Electoral history

2017 Virginia Senate special election, District 9[43]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jennifer McClellan 7,849 91.3
Libertarian Corey Falconer 692 8.1
Total votes 8,596 100.0
Democratic hold
2019 Virginia Senate election, District 9[44]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jennifer McClellan (incumbent) 49,451 80.1
Libertarian Mark Lewis 11,707 19.0
Total votes 61,771 100.0
Democratic hold
2021 Virginia gubernatorial Democratic primary[45]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Terry McAuliffe 307,367 62.10
Democratic Jennifer Carroll Foy 98,052 19.81
Democratic Jennifer McClellan 58,213 11.76
Democratic Justin Fairfax 17,606 3.56
Democratic Lee J. Carter 13,694 2.77
Total votes 494,932 100.0
2023 Virginia's 4th congressional district Democratic firehouse primary results[46]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jennifer McClellan 23,661 84.8
Democratic Joe Morrissey 3,782 13.6
Democratic Tavorise Marks 217 0.8
Democratic Joseph Preston 174 0.6
Unallocated 66 0.2
Total votes 27,900 100.0
2023 Virginia's 4th congressional district special election[47]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Jennifer McClellan 82,040 74.41 +9.49
Republican Leon Benjamin 28,083 25.47 -9.43
Write-in 129 0.12 -0.06
Total votes 110,252 100.0
Democratic hold

See also


  1. ^ a b "Jennifer McClellan is poised to become Virginia's first Black woman in Congress". NPR. Associated Press. December 22, 2022. Retrieved December 22, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Flynn, Meagan; Vozzella, Laura (December 13, 2022). "State Sen. Jennifer McClellan seeks to fill McEachin's seat in Congress". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on December 13, 2022.
  3. ^ "McClellan elected as Virginia's first Black woman in Congress". Politico. February 21, 2023.
  4. ^ Jennifer McClellan will win special election and become Virginia’s first Black congresswoman, CNN projects, Chandelis Duster, CNN. February 21, 2023
  5. ^ Schneider, Gregory S. (May 22, 2021). "Two women chasing history put the spotlight on one Virginia city with a compelling history of its own". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved January 20, 2022.
  6. ^ "James F. McClellan Jr". Retrieved March 8, 2023.
  7. ^ "Meet Jenn". Jennifer McClellan for Congress. Retrieved January 16, 2023.
  8. ^ a b c d e Moomaw, Graham (December 23, 2016). "After 'devastating' 2016 election, McClellan plans next political chapter". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  9. ^ Woo, Megan (October 23, 2016). "Governor McAuliffe accepts civil rights award". NBC12. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Jennifer McClellan's Biography". Vote Smart. Retrieved December 20, 2022.
  11. ^ Wilson, Patrick (February 3, 2017). "Sen. Jennifer McClellan, working for Verizon on wireless infrastructure bill, recuses herself from vote". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  12. ^ a b Schneider, Gregory S. (June 18, 2020). "State Sen. Jennifer McClellan announces she'll run for Virginia governor in 2021". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
  13. ^ "Ninth District Senate election pits McClellan, Fauconier". Henrico Citizen. January 10, 2017. Archived from the original on January 11, 2017. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  14. ^ "Democratic Party Super Delegates -- 2008". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  15. ^ Martz, Michael (June 18, 2020). "Richmond Sen. Jennifer McClellan launches campaign for governor in 'unique times'". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Archived from the original on June 18, 2020. Retrieved March 18, 2021.
  16. ^ Vozzella, Laura (March 29, 2012). "Delegate urges McDonnell to veto pension bill members didn't have time to read before passing". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 6, 2023.
  17. ^ McNeil, Tommie (March 29, 2012). "'Virginia Pension Protection Coalition'". Virginia Public Radio. Retrieved February 6, 2023.
  18. ^ Chaney, Matthew (January 11, 2017). "Jennifer McClellan wins Virginia's 9th Senate District election". WRIC. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  19. ^ Freeman, Jr., Vernon (January 9, 2017). "9th Senate District seat up for grabs in special election Tuesday". Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  20. ^ "LIS > Bill Tracking > Patrons > 2019 session: HB 2491 Abortion; eliminate certain requirements". Virginia's Legislative Information System. Division of Legislative Automated Systems.
  21. ^ Shillingford, Brendan (December 3, 2020). "New Virginia laws seek to close 'school-to-prison pipeline'". AP News.
  22. ^ "LIS > Bill Tracking > SB851 > 2020 session: SB 851 Electric utility regulation; environmental goals". Virginia's Legislative Information System. Division of Legislative Automated Systems. Retrieved October 19, 2021.
  23. ^ "Gov. Northam approves Voting Rights Act of Virginia". ABC 3. March 31, 2021.
  24. ^ Shivaram, Deepa (September 22, 2021). "An Emancipation Statue Debuts In Virginia Two Weeks After Robert E. Lee Was Removed". NPR. Retrieved September 22, 2021.
  25. ^ "Debate recap: Democrats vying to be Virginia's governor pitch to voters in final primary debate". 8News. June 2, 2021. Retrieved February 9, 2022.
  26. ^ Vozzella, Laura (May 13, 2021). "Defeated Va. gubernatorial candidate Amanda Chase loses bid to overturn state Senate censure". The Washington Post.
  27. ^ Portnoy, Jenna (September 8, 2016). "Bobby Scott: The congressman who could make history. Again". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on September 9, 2016. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  28. ^ "DDHQ Election Results". Retrieved June 9, 2021.
  29. ^ "2021 November General". Archived from the original on April 12, 2022. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  30. ^ Moomaw, Graham (April 7, 2020). "Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy files paperwork to run for governor". Virginia Mercury. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
  31. ^ Flynn, Meagan (December 22, 2022). "Jennifer McClellan wins Virginia 4th District primary for McEachin's seat". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on December 22, 2022. Retrieved December 22, 2022.
  32. ^ Kealy, Caroline (November 29, 2022). "Rep. Donald McEachin passes away at 61 after battle with colorectal cancer". CBS 6 News Richmond WTVR. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  33. ^ "Rep. Don McEachin dies". Cardinal News. November 29, 2022. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  34. ^ "Other Democrats Are Performing Better Than Biden - The Union Journal". The Union Journal. February 28, 2023. Retrieved March 2, 2023.
  35. ^ "Jennifer McClellan will win special election and become Virginia's first Black congresswoman, CNN projects | CNN Politics". CNN. February 22, 2023.
  36. ^ "On our radar: Jennifer McClellan will be sworn in to Congress next week". The Washington Post. March 2, 2023.
  37. ^ Duster, Chandelis (March 7, 2023). "Jennifer McClellan sworn in as first Black congresswoman to represent Virginia". CNN. Retrieved March 10, 2023.
  38. ^ staff, St Louis American (March 29, 2023). "Rep. Cori Bush leading new push for ERA passage". St. Louis American.
  39. ^ "Caucus Members". Congressional Progressive Caucus. Retrieved September 11, 2023.
  40. ^ "Committees and Caucuses". Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan. January 3, 2023. Retrieved March 25, 2023.
  41. ^ Cain, Andrew; Martz, Michael (December 14, 2022). "Kaine endorses McClellan for McEachin's congressional seat". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved January 17, 2023.
  42. ^ @JennMcClellanVA (November 16, 2022). "How it started. How it's going. Anniversary Edition" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  43. ^ "Elections Database". Virginia Board of Elections. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  44. ^ "Virginia State Senate District 9". Ballotpedia. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  45. ^ "2021 June Democratic Primary". Archived from the original on June 9, 2021. Retrieved June 9, 2021.
  46. ^ "Democratic firehouse primary results". Virginia Democratic Party. December 22, 2022.
  47. ^ "2023 February Special". Retrieved March 1, 2023.

External links

Virginia House of Delegates
Preceded by Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 71st district

Succeeded by
Senate of Virginia
Preceded by Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 9th district

Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 4th congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 7 May 2024, at 20:05
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