About the Race
This election occurs on November 3, 2020, in conjunction with the US presidential election. Incumbent congressman, attorney Don McEachin (D), is running against Leon Benjamin (R), a Richmond pastor and Gulf War veteran who is the current GOP chair of the Richmond Republican Party.
About the District
The 4th congressional district of Virginia contains most of the area between Richmond and Hampton Roads, including all or parts of Charles City, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Greensville, Henrico, Prince George, Southampton, Surry, and Sussex, and all or part of the independent cities of Chesapeake, Colonial Heights, Emporia, Hopewell, Petersburg, Richmond, and Suffolk. In 2012, the neighboring 3rd district was deemed unconstitutional. It was redrawn, with parts of it being put into the 4th district, since then the district has been reliably Democratic, with Don McEachin earning over 62% of the vote in 2018.
Democratic Representative Donald McEachin is seeking his third term serving the 4th Congressional District. He was first elected to the position in 2016. Before serving in Congress, McEachin was a member of Virginia’s House of Delegates from 1996 to 2002 and 2006 to 2008. He was then elected to the state Senate from 2008 to 2017. He’s a 1986 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and holds a Master of Divinity from Virginia Union University. He’s married to Collette McEachin, Commonwealth Attorney for the City of Richmond. The couple has three children together.
As a member of Congress, Rep. McEachin serves on the Natural Resources and Energy and Commerce committees and Select Committee on Climate Crisis. He has introduced legislation to make solar energy more affordable for low-income families and the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act. McEachin also wants the U.S. to recommit to the Paris Climate Agreement.
McEachin believes it is the responsibility of Congress to protect citizens’ right to vote. He supports the John Lews Voting Rights Advancement Act.
In 2020, McEachin voted with other Democratic members of Congress to protect the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from the Trump administration’s efforts to dismantle healthcare reform. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act seeks to expand Medicaid coverage to insure more Americans during the coronavirus pandemic, lower the cost of prescription drugs, and reduce health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs. McEachin also introduced legislation this year aimed at addressing the country’s Black maternal health crisis.
McEachin believes that Virginians deserve better pay and voted for the Raise the Wage Act this year to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. He voted for the Paycheck Fairness Act, which seeks to close the gender wage gap. McEachin supports immigrant rights and voted for the American Dream and Promise Act in 2019. He also voted to send $4.5 billion to the border that same year to address the humanitarian crisis suffered by migrants attempting to enter the U.S.
NARAL Pro-Choice America gave McEachin a score of 100% for his voting record on reproductive freedom. He believes everyone should have access to safe and legal abortion and decide for themselves whether, how, and when to have children. McEachin supports federal funding of Planned Parenthood and believes that health insurance companies should cover birth control. McEachin also voted to impeach Trump in 2019.
Rep. McEachin is facing a challenge from Pastor Leon Benjamin, an evangelical leader and Chairman of the Republican Party in Richmond. Benjamin works to garner African-American support for President Trump. He attended Trump’s inauguration and stated that Trump was “not a racist.” In 2010, Benjamin urged the U.S. Congress not to repeal the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, which banned openly gay people from serving in the military. He also opposes a person’s right to abortion access.
Due to his extensive service to constituents in his district and commitment to progressive values, Rep. Donald McEachin is the most progressive candidate for Virginia’s 4th Congressional District.