Democratic Del. Lamont Bagby handily won a special election March 28 to fill the open Richmond-based Virginia Senate seat previously held by Jennifer McClellan, unofficial returns from the state Department of Elections show.
Results show Bagby with about 90% of the vote in the contest against Republican candidate Stephen Imholt, with nearly all precincts reporting. The Associated Press is not tabulating or calling the race.
Bagby’s victory in the heavily Democratic 9th District means the party divide of the General Assembly’s upper chamber will remain the same: 22-18.
“To all those who joined us, and to those who didn’t, know that this seat belongs to you and my door will always be open,” Bagby said in a statement. “Together, we are going to do great things for Virginia families — from lowering costs for hardworking Virginians and protecting workers’ rights, to ensuring more accessible housing and fortifying Democrats’ brick wall against Republican attacks on reproductive rights, voting rights and public education, we will get it done.”
The seat was open after McClellan was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in a February special election held to fill the vacancy created by the death of Rep. Don McEachin. Bagby briefly sought the Democratic nomination for that race before withdrawing and backing McClellan.
His victory will set up yet another special election to fill the Henrico County House of Delegates district he has represented since 2015.
The 9th Senate district includes Charles City County and parts of Richmond and Henrico and Hanover counties. Bagby, chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, far outraised Imholt in the race, bringing in north of $200,000 compared with Imholt’s $580, according to campaign finance filings compiled by the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project.
Bagby will serve for the remainder of McClellan’s term, which will involve a one-day session next month to consider Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s vetoes and proposed amendments to legislation and any special session that may be called. Then he and all other General Assembly candidates will face election under new lines in the November general election.
Imholt, a retired project manager who previously served in local government in Illinois, conceded. In a phone interview, he commended Bagby for putting together a strong campaign in a short timeline and congratulated him on the win.