Community leader Candi King won the Democratic nomination for the Virginia House of Delegates 2nd District on Sunday and will square off against GOP nominee Heather Mitchell in the January 5 special election.
King, who lives in Prince William County with her family, defeated four other candidates – Pamela Montgomery, Keisha Francis, Nyesha Wilson and Rozia Henson – in the firehouse primary, securing 380 out of 867 votes or 43.83 percent, according to the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP).
“I was extremely overwhelmed and humbled,” King said in an interview with The Virginia Star. “I came into the race out of a sense of service and wanting to help. I knew that it was a quick turnaround and I knew that we worked really hard.”
Now that the contest is set between King and Mitchell, both candidates have three weeks to campaign and convince the people of the 2nd District why they are the right person to represent the community in Richmond.
And so far, the two women have been using what little time they have to campaign as much as possible.
King said that she has been focusing on getting her message out to voters as well as spreading awareness on when the special election will be taking place because of the time constraints. On the other side, Mitchell said he has been doing phone calls, door knocking and getting information about the election out to the public as well.
“It is basically a sprint for the next three weeks, 21 days from today, and it’s all about getting the message out that the 2nd House District has an opportunity to let their voice be heard in Richmond because it’s not being heard right now,” Mitchell told The Star. “People have a chance to tell Richmond that, hey, we deserve proper representation and we’re not happy with current leadership.”
Both Mitchell, a resident of Stafford County, and King say that their campaign has been received well by people from the respective communities and expressed confidence in their ability to win the election.
Having worked under the late state Senator Yvonne Miller, the first African American woman elected to the General Assembly, and Sen. Lionell Spruill (D-Chesapeake), King believes those past experiences will allow her to hit the ground running if elected.
Despite representing opposite sides of the political aisle, Mitchell and King have similar legislative priorities. Mitchell said she is focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically regarding schools, as well as transportation and infrastructure, while King brought up post pandemic recovery efforts for those in need, a safe reopening for schools and transportation.
When asked about her opponent, Mitchell said she thinks constituents would just be getting more of the same representation as before that, she argues, only focuses on the issues of one part of the district and ignores the other.
The 2nd District seat was left available after former delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy announced last week that she was resigning from the legislature to focus on her run for governor in 2021.
The district is home to just under 80,000 people, according to Ballotpedia, and includes the eastern edge of Prince William County along the Potomac River and the northern part of Stafford County. Overall, the district leans Democratic.
Since 2011, Republican candidates have won the district twice and the Democratic candidates have won three times, including Carroll Foy’s victories in 2017 and 2019. In the majority of those district races, the precincts in Prince William tended to vote blue while the precincts in Stafford mostly went red, with some slight variations depending on the year, according to VPAP.
Located not far from Washington D.C., the 2nd District has pretty heavily favored statewide and national Democratic candidates for a large portion of the last decade.
The special election on January 5 could also play an important part in the efforts by House Republican to take back the chamber from the Democrats who gained majority control after the 2019 elections.
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Jacob Taylor is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network. Follow Jacob on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Candi King” by Candi King. Background Photo “Virginia Capitol” by Anderskev. CC BY 3.0.