Jennifer McClellan Made History As The First Black Woman Elected To Congress In Virginia


February 23, 2023

Jennifer McClellan, a state senator, will fill the seat held by Representative A. Donald McEachin. 

Jennifer McCllelan


Jennifer Leigh McClellan was born in 1972. The Virginia native is a lawyer and vice chair of the Virginia legislature’s influential Black caucus and has served as the Virginia state senator since 2017. 

After winning a special election for Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District on Tuesday, McClellan is now the first Black woman to represent the state in Congress, defeating Leon Benjamin and winning nearly 85 percent of the vote.

Jennifer McClellan


With a campaign centering issues like abortion access and voting rights, McClellan was prepared to fight for the people. “I passed legislation to protect our right to vote and our right to a clean environment. I led the fight for our reproductive freedom,” Ms. McClellan said. “I’ll take that same fight with me to Congress.” 

During her time in the state legislature, McClellan passed more than 350 pieces of legislation, according to ABCNews. 

“Jennifer McClellan’s history-making victory as the first Black woman to be elected to Congress from Virginia will have ripple effects across the Commonwealth,” Susan Swecker, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, said in a statement.


“The first step is listening,” McClellan said. “Focusing on solving problems, finding common ground where you can’t and if you can’t [find] it, then just pushing forward for what’s best for your constituents and the country.”



This is not McClellan’s first run for higher office. In 2021, she ran to be governor of Virginia but lost in the primary to Terry McAuliffe.

Congratulations, Congresswoman McClellan!

Photo credit: NYTimes/Jennifer McClellan/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette


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