Democratic U.S. Representative Donald McEachin Dies at 61 – How Will It Effect the House?
United States Representative Donald McEachin died on Monday, according to a statement from his office. The Virginia Democrat was 61 years old. Congressman McEachin died Monday following a battle with colorectal cancer. He was the third-ever African American to represent Virginia in the U.S. House.
Tara Rountree, the representative’s chief of staff, wrote, “We are all devastated at the passing of our boss and friend, Congressman Donald McEachin. Valiantly, for years now, we have watched him fight and triumph over the secondary effects of his colorectal cancer from 2013. Tonight, he lost that battle, and the people of Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District lost a hero who always, always fought for them and put them first.”
Tara Rountree also said that until a new representative is elected, their office will remain open and continue to serve their constituents.
That seat will be hotly contested leading up to a special election that will be held. McEachin represented Virginia’s 4th Congressional District, which includes the state capital of Richmond. He was reelected earlier this month in the typically Democratic voting area.
The 61-year-old representative was first elected in 2016 after serving in both chambers of Virginia’s General Assembly. He championed reforms to US gun laws, environmental protection, and affordable health care.
At the time of his death, McEachin was a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, and the Natural Resources Committee.
“This really is a dream come true folks,” McEachin told supporters in his 2016 victory speech. “We know we’re out here making history and that history doesn’t come easy.”
The untimely death of Rep. McEachin will not impact the new Congress significantly in January. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will still need 218 votes to become the new Speaker of the House. When the new Congress begins, there will be 434 members voting, so he will need an outright majority.