Donald McEachin
McEachin smiling, wearing a suit in front of an American flag
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 4th district
In office
January 3, 2017 – November 28, 2022
Preceded byRandy Forbes
Succeeded byTBD
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 9th district
In office
January 9, 2008 – January 3, 2017
Preceded byBenjamin Lambert
Succeeded byJennifer McClellan
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 74th district
In office
January 11, 2006 – January 9, 2008
Preceded byFloyd Miles
Succeeded byJoe Morrissey
In office
January 10, 1996 – January 9, 2002
Preceded byRobert Ball
Succeeded byFloyd Miles
Personal details
Aston Donald McEachin

(1961-10-10)October 10, 1961
Nuremberg, Bavaria, West Germany (now Germany)
DiedNovember 28, 2022(2022-11-28) (aged 61)
Cause of deathColorectal cancer
Political partyDemocratic
Colette McEachin
(m. 1986)

Aston Donald McEachin (/məˈkən/ mə-KEE-chən; October 10, 1961 – November 28, 2022) was an American politician and lawyer who served as the U.S. representative for Virginia's 4th congressional district from 2017 until his death in 2022.[1] His district was based in the state capital, Richmond; it included much of the area between Richmond and Hampton Roads.

A member of the Democratic Party, McEachin served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1996 until 2002 and then served an additional term from 2006 until 2008. He subsequently served in the Senate of Virginia from 2008 until 2017, representing the 9th district, made up of Charles City County, plus parts of Henrico County and the city of Richmond.[2][3] McEachin ran for the open seat of Virginia's 4th congressional district vacated by Republican Randy Forbes in 2016 and won the general election with 57.3% of the vote.[4] In 2001, McEachin was the Democratic nominee in the Virginia Attorney General election, which he lost to Jerry Kilgore.

McEachin was the first African American nominated by a major party for Virginia attorney general. He was the third African American elected to Congress from Virginia and the second elected from the state since the 1800s.[5]

Early life, education, and legal career

McEachin was born in Nuremberg, Germany, while his father was serving in the United States Army. He attended St. Christopher's School in Richmond. In 1982, he received a bachelor's degree in political history from American University. After that, he attended the University of Virginia School of Law, where he received a J.D. in 1986. He also received a Master of Divinity from Virginia Union University in 2008.[2] In 2012, he was awarded honoris causa membership in Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society.[citation needed]

McEachin began to practice law in Richmond after completing law school, eventually becoming a partner in his own firm, McEachin and Gee.[6]

Virginia House of Delegates

McEachin was first elected to the House of Delegates from the 74th district in 1995. After three terms there, he ran in the 2001 Virginia Attorney General election. He won a four-way Democratic primary with 33.6% of the vote,[7] but lost the general election to Republican nominee Jerry Kilgore by 20 percentage points.[8]

In 2005 he ran again for the 74th House district, defeating his predecessor, Floyd Miles, by 44 votes in the Democratic primary,[9] and winning the general election with 75% of the vote.[10]

Virginia Senate

McEachin in 2010
McEachin in 2010

In 2007, McEachin ran for the state senate, challenging 9th district incumbent Benjamin Lambert, who drew criticism within the Democratic Party for his endorsement of Republican U.S. Senator George Allen in Allen's unsuccessful 2006 reelection campaign against Jim Webb.[11] After defeating Lambert 58%-42% in the primary,[12] McEachin won 81% of the vote against independent Silver Persinger in the general election.[13]

McEachin was unopposed for reelection in 2011.[14]

United States House of Representatives

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In 2019, McEachin suggested that Virginia Governor Ralph Northam should send the Virginia National Guard to close down armories[15] and forcibly enact Dick Saslaw's proposed confiscatory[16] ban on commonly held rifles and handguns with standard capacity magazines in counties where local law enforcement refused.[17][18] McEachin's threat to send troops to confiscate arms and close armories[19] came in response to the ratification of Second Amendment Sanctuary Resolutions in 91 out of 95 counties, 16 out of 38 independent cities, and 42 towns.[20]

Committee assignments

McEachin was a member of the following committees and subcommittees during the 117th Congress:[21]

Caucus memberships

Electoral history

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In 2001, he was the Democratic nominee for Attorney General of Virginia, but lost to Jerry Kilgore.[24]

In June 2020, McEachin was nominated over R. Cazel Levine in the Democratic primary. That November, he defeated Republican nominee Leon Benjamin in the general election.

Personal life

McEachin and his wife, Colette, had three children and lived in Richmond.[6] In 2019, Colette McEachin became interim Commonwealth's Attorney for Richmond (having served in that office for 20 years),[25] won the Democratic nomination on August 10,[26] and was unopposed in the special election on November 5.[27]

On August 25, 2015, McEachin's name was found on the list of users of the Ashley Madison website.[28] His response was, "At this time, this is a personal issue between my family and me. I will have no further statement on this issue."[29]

Illness and death

In 2018, McEachin revealed that he had developed a fistula after completing treatment for colorectal cancer in 2014, losing more than 60 pounds (27 kg) as a result.[30] He advocated regular testing for the disease, telling attendees at a special screening of the film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, "Don't fool around. Don't go through my journey", two weeks before his death.[31]

McEachin died of complications of cancer on November 28, 2022, at the age of 61.[32] His death came a few weeks after his reelection to a fourth term in the 2022 elections. He was mourned by outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, as well as fellow Virginia Democrats Mark Warner and Gerry Connolly.[33] Virginia U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, who had known McEachin since 1984, paid tribute as well.[34]

See also


  1. ^ "Rep. Donald McEachin passes away at 61 after battle with colorectal cancer". Retrieved November 28, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Senator A. Donald McEachin; Democrat-District 9". Senate of Virginia. Archived from the original on January 9, 2013. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
  3. ^ "Virginia House of Delegates; Session 2007; McEachin, A. Donald (Donald)". Virginia House of Delegates. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
  4. ^ The New York Times (November 9, 2016). "Virginia U.S. House 4th District Results: Donald McEachin Wins". The New York Times.
  5. ^ 'Tonight, he lost that battle': Congressman Donald McEachin dies at 61
  6. ^ a b "Donald McEachin". Retrieved November 16, 2012.
  7. ^ "Commonwealth of Virginia; June 12, 2001 - Primary Election". Virginia State Board of Elections. Archived from the original on February 21, 2007. Retrieved January 25, 2009.
  8. ^ "Virginia Election Results". Washington Post. November 6, 2001.
  9. ^ "Commonwealth of Virginia; June 14, 2005 - Primary Election". Virginia State Board of Elections. Archived from the original on August 13, 2013. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
  10. ^ "Commonwealth of Virginia; November 8, 2005 - General Election". Virginia State Board of Elections. Archived from the original on December 28, 2012. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
  11. ^ "Allen endorsement dogs Lambert's re-election bid". The Washington Times. June 9, 2007. Retrieved January 25, 2009.
  12. ^ "2007 June Democratic Primary Official Results". Virginia State Board of Elections. Archived from the original on October 2, 2011. Retrieved January 25, 2009.
  13. ^ "November 6, 2007 General Election Official Results". Virginia State Board of Elections. Archived from the original on October 2, 2011. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
  14. ^ "November 2011 General Election Official Results". Virginia State Board of Elections. Archived from the original on July 8, 2013. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
  15. ^ Suderman, Alan (January 10, 2020). "Proposed bill would ban NRA's shooting range at headquarters in Virginia". WSET. Associated Press. Retrieved June 17, 2021.
  16. ^ "LIS > Bill Tracking > SB16 > 2020 session". Retrieved June 17, 2021.
  17. ^ "Virginia Sheriff Renews Promise to Deputize Citizens When New Gun Control Laws are Enacted [VIDEO]". The Truth About Guns. January 13, 2020. Retrieved June 17, 2021.
  18. ^ Tyree, Elizabeth (February 21, 2020). "Sen. Stanley says Democrats voted down deputy pay raise for not enforcing 'gun control'". WSET. Retrieved July 25, 2021.
  19. ^ "Concord's North Bridge - Minute Man National Historical Park (U.S. National Park Service)". Retrieved July 25, 2021.
  20. ^ Stewart, Caleb. "Increasing number of Virginia counties declare themselves 'Second Amendment sanctuaries'". Retrieved November 23, 2019.
  21. ^ "A. Donald McEachin". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  22. ^ "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  23. ^ "Membership". Congressional Black Caucus. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  24. ^ "Virginia Election Results - November 6, 2001". Virginia State Board of Elections. Archived from the original on December 28, 2012. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  25. ^ "Collette Wallace McEachin, Deputy in Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, to Seek Democratic Nomination for Commonwealth's Attorney". Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  26. ^ "Colette McEachin wins Democratic nomination for Richmond commonwealth's attorney data". Retrieved August 11, 2019.
  27. ^ "Colette McEachin - Ballotpedia".
  28. ^ "Legislators' names appear in hacked Ashley Madison data". Retrieved August 27, 2015.
  29. ^ "McEachin on link to Ashley Madison: 'This is a personal issue'". August 26, 2015. Retrieved August 27, 2015.
  30. ^ Martz, Michael. "Slimmed-down McEachin dealing with non-life-threatening medical condition". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  31. ^ Vozzella, Laura; Flynn, Meagan (November 29, 2022). "Congressman Donald McEachin of Virginia dies at 61". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  32. ^ "'Virginia has lost a great leader': U.S. Rep. McEachin dies". WWBT. November 29, 2022. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  33. ^ "Virginia Rep. Donald McEachin, recently reelected to 4th term in US Congress, dies at 61". Associated Press. Daily Press. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  34. ^ "Sen. Kaine mourns Donald McEachin: 'He will have a successor but won't really have a replacement'". WTVR. November 29, 2022. Retrieved November 2022. ((cite news)): Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
Virginia House of Delegates Preceded byRobert Ball Member of the Virginia House of Delegatesfrom the 74th district 1996–2002 Succeeded byFloyd Miles Preceded byFloyd Miles Member of the Virginia House of Delegatesfrom the 74th district 2006–2008 Succeeded byJoseph D. Morrissey Senate of Virginia Preceded byBenjamin Lambert Member of the Virginia Senatefrom the 9th district 2008–2017 Succeeded byJennifer McClellan U.S. House of Representatives Preceded byRandy Forbes Member of the U.S. House of Representativesfrom Virginia's 4th congressional district 2017–2022 Vacant